Black Collar CrimesClergy Crimes

November 1999 –
March 2000

A – L

  • Arizona
  • California
  • Florida
  • Illinois



    TUCSON — New lawsuits accuse priests with the Diocese of Tucson of molesting 3 men when they were youngsters in the 1970s. One of the suits alleges that Fr. Pedro Luke of Our Mother of Sorrows repeatedly molested Albert Coderre, Jr., a former student and altar boy now in his 30s, over a four-month period in 1975.

    Coderre ran away from home after the alleged abuse and developed a serious substance-abuse problem, said the attorney representing the plaintiffs. Todd Diaz, 38, has accused Msg. Robert Trupia, a former priest-in-residence at the parish, of holding him prisoner and molesting him for a week in 1975 at St. Francis Church and School in Yuma. Trupia was accused in a lawsuit filed last year of sexually abusing yet another man there.

    David Frei also accused Trupia of several instances of sexual indecency and molestation from 1973 to 1974, when Frei was an altar boy at St. Francis.

    Robert and Rosemary Williams alleged last April that their son, William, in his mid-30s, was sexually abused and given alcohol and drugs by Trupia and the late Fr. William Byrne at Our Mother of Sorrows from 1976 to 1979.
    AP, 1/12/00



    SAN FRANCISCO — The Archdiocese of San Francisco says that a priest who is an academic dean of a seminary has been arrested on charges which may be related to child pornography and sexual abuse. He allegedly used the Internet to distribute illegal materials.

    According to the archdiocese, a search warrant indicates that the San Jose Police have been investigating Fr. Carl Schipper, 57, for the last 6 months on suspicion of child sexual abuse and solicitation of sex with minors using the Internet. He was arrested at his home in Santa Rosa on March 2. The archdiocese says it first learned of the charges when the search warrant was served. Schipper, assigned to the seminary for the past 8 years, was relieved of his duties as dean and placed on administrative leave.

    Abp. William Levada issued an open letter outlining steps to address issues surrounding the arrest.
    CNS, 3/10/00; Daily News, 3/6

    FULLERTON — A priest posing as a police chaplain who pleaded guilty in Jan. to molesting two young girls has been sentenced to 5 years in state prison. Fr. Fernando Deliz, 67, agreed to a last-minute plea-bargain with prosecutors. He admitted that he molested two girls, ages 8 and 11, between Aug. 1996 and June 1999.

    Police Sgt. Joe Klein said Deliz preyed on his victims by falsely impersonating a Fullerton Police Department chaplain. Deliz volunteered at the Brookhurst First Baptist Church in Fullerton and was a member of the Florida-based National Chaplains Assn. He was arrested in Aug.1999 and has been in county jail since then.
    LA Times, 3/8/00

    FRESNO — Policeman Paul Hurth, 44, who is also a Baptist minister, has been charged with murder of the husband of his alleged mistress. Hurth was held on $1 million bond.

    Hurth was arrested one week after Ralph Gawor, 43, was found shot to death inside his home. An officer for 4 years, Hurth was fired shortly afterwards.

    Gawor, 43, a sales manager for a downtown car lot, was last seen alive Feb. 18 when he left work. Investigators have discovered physical evidence linking Hurth to the scene. Gawor's employers said there was no indication of any problems in his 12-year marriage to Nancy Gawor.

    However, the attorney for Hurth's family told The Fresno Bee that his client "was involved with the victim's wife in a romantic relationship."
    AP, 2/29/00

    SAN FRANCISCO — A three-judge court of appeals has ruled that a former seminarian could proceed with his sexual-harassment suit against the Jesuit order in Calif.

    This is the first time any federal court has extended the reach of the Civil Rights Act to include churches under the sexual-harassment laws that govern other employers.

    John Bollard, the plaintiff, spent 7 years as a Jesuit seminarian and teacher. During a CBS-TV "60 Minutes" broadcast last May he charged that at least 12 different priests and superiors had made unwelcome sexual advances toward him, creating a decidedly hostile work environment, as defined as a violation of the Civil Rights Act. He complained to Fr. John Privett, the head of all West Coast Jesuits, and an investigation was undertaken.

    "But," Bollard claimed, "they never asked me to come back in and talk to them about it. They never asked me about witnesses." He added that what he wanted was "a sincere apology" — and reason to believe that such acts would be prevented from happening again.

    Eventually, believing that the secret was not serious, Bollard resigned from the Jesuits in 1996 before ordination. He is now a schoolteacher in Southern Calif.

    In his opinion, Judge William Fletcher took great care to answer the claim that the decision would interfere with "the selection, assessment, retention and discipline of seminarians, priests and other clergy." Thereby resulting in an unconstitutional entanglement of church and state.

    The judge, however, noted that "the Jesuits do not offer a religious justification for the harassment that Bollard alleges. Indeed, they condemn it as inconsistent with their values and beliefs.

    "There is thus no danger," the judge continued "that, by allowing this suit to proceed, we will thrust the secular courts into the constitutionally untenable position of passing judgment on religious faith or doctrine."

    The decision to allow Bollard to go on with his lawsuit applies only to the West, and the defendants have asked the courts for a review of the decision.
    Jewish World Review, 2/6/00

    SAN JOSE — More than 2 years after his arrest, a former Lutheran pastor testified that he did not molest a teenage boy, but instead was teaching him about his body in a sexual-learning experience that went awry.

    Frequently closing his eyes to recall details from Oct. 1997, Howard DePorte, 44, denied he was guilty of 10 felony child-molestation charges involving a now-17-year-old, mildly retarded student.

    But DePorte did admit that his actions were inappropriate. "I knew it was conduct contrary to theR law, but I had the growing sense that no one would take the risk to help him (the teen) the way I thought he needed to be helped," said DePorte, who resigned from the Holy Redeemer Church in 1997.

    DePorte testified in front of a packed courtroom made up mostly of his church supporters that he knew he was in a "moral dilemma." If convicted on all counts, DePorte could face a maximum 21 years in prison.

    The boy, whose testimony was sometimes contradictory, said the ex-pastor molested him on two separate occasions.

    According to DePorte, the boy, who was in his confirmation class for 2 years, repeatedly talked about sexual fantasies with soap-opera actresses and how he thought sex was evil. On several occasions, the boy told the ex-pastor that his genitals were in pain because he masturbated without lotion. DePorte testified he decided to show the boy step by step how to masturbate. Then they masturbated in front of each other in DePorte's church office, he testified. DePorte also testified that he knows his open views about sexuality and masturbation go against the teachings of the conservative branch of the Lutheran church.
    Mercury News, 1/6/00



    TAMPA — A former minister faces up to 15 years in prison after pleading guilty in federal court to receiving child pornography on his computer.

    Lawrence Kilbourne, 43, wept at the hearing, but later spoke calmly when a magistrate asked if he understood the consequences of pleading guilty. Kilbourne resigned as pastor of Forest Hills United Methodist Church in Oct. shortly after his arrest. He told the 500 parishioners in the church he founded that he had a sexual addiction.

    FBI agents found thousands of images of child pornography on his computer that his daughter discovered after becoming suspicious of her father because he flirted with young girls at restaurants. She notified authorities after finding in his church-owned home a videotape of a man fondling a young child,which she feared was him.

    He faces life in prison if convicted of capital sexual battery for allegedly molesting his daughter's friend during a sleepover in 1994. He admitted that he fondled the girl while she slept after prosecutors confronted him with the videotape he made of the incident. Kilbourne wept in court before pleading guilty to the pornography charges.

    Authorities seized more than 200 videotapes and 15,000 computer files from Kilbourne's home. Some of the items depicted toddler and preadolescent children posed or engaged in sexual conduct.

    Kilbourne pleaded guilty to federal charges of receiving the explicit computer files. He also faces state charges of sexual battery on a child under age 16 for the alleged videotaped molestation. A trial on that charge was set to begin in April. Investigators also were checking allegations that Kilbourne had improper contact with members of his church youth group, as well as children from the church day care center.
    Sarasota Herald-Tribune, 2/4/00; AP, 2/3



    AURORA — Rev. Paul Goodman, 54, has been indicted by a grand jury on 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse with 3 teenage girls. The television minister, who runs weekly church services at Provena Mercy Center, is accused of having sexual contact with the teens, ages 13, 16 and 17, according to the indictment.

    His family is calling the allegations a gross misunderstanding. His wife, Arvis, said the situation began last fall when her husband wrote a letter to one of the teens. She called the note a “written lecture” on dating, with references to caressing. The minister’s family contends that the note fell into the hands of one of the girls’ aunts, who went to state authorities worried that the letter might be a sign of an abusive relationship.

    Charges were leveled against Goodman after a grand jury gathered testimony from witnesses. Goodman was taken into custody without incident in Chicago. He was being held in Kane County Jail on $100,000 bond awaiting arraignment.

    Arvis Goodman said the teens have realized a mistake has been made and have gone to authorities in an attempt to have the charges dropped.

    Goodman’s attorney, David Camic, said word that the girls allegedlyhave taken back their incriminating statements is troubling. “Obviously that’s a concern to us,” he said. “It’s our understanding there’s been a recantation. And I’m surprised that, given the recantation, the bond is so high.”

    Arvis Goodman said she and her husband have been members of Faith Deliverance Church in Aurora. The couple run the Sinners Repentant Church of Jesus Christ, a group that Goodman said ministers to people with alcohol and drug problems. The Goodmans also are known in Aurora for their cable-access television program, “God’s Information Station.”
    ? 3/31/2000

    CHICAGO — A Villa Park pastor was arrested in Wisc. and accused of using the Internet to set up a sexual rendezvous with someone he thought was a 14-year-old boy, authorities said.

    Fr. John M. Furdek, 47, was taken into custody Feb. 17 in the parking lot of a Racine, Wisc. McDonald's, investigators said. Agents from the Wis. Dept. of Justice were waiting for Furdek after he allegedly set up a meeting with a chat-room acquaintance who turned out to be an undercover detective.

    A computer and videotapes were confiscated from his home on parish property. Sheriff's deputies also found steroids and less than 5 grams of marijuana in his car. He was ordered held on $60,600 bond and to appear in court again on Feb. 28.

    The priest has no known criminal record. Church officials declined to comment on the situation.

    In an unrelated case, a Chicago priest appeared in court accused of fondling an adult seminary student. An attorney for Fr. Domingo Hurtado-Badillo, 38, received a postponement in the case until March. Hurtado-Badillo, who is on temporary leave from his duties as pastor, allegedly caressed a 21-year-old seminarian on Oct. 30. The 21-year-old complained to police late in Jan. Hurtado-Badillo's attorney had no comment.

    Hurtado-Badillo was previously convicted of indecent exposure in Nov. 1998.
    Tribune, 2/19/00, AP 2/18

    AURORA — A self-proclaimed minister and schoolbus driver faces multilple charges with soliciting sex from two 18-year-old males assigned to court-ordered community service at the church he ran from his home. Terrance Johnson, 45, was charged also with bribery and record-tampering for allegedly offering to falsely report that the men had finished their work in exchange for sex. He resigned as bus driver when local school officials got wind of the police investigation, and after more than 50 calls from concerned residents to investigators, more charges might follow.
    Tribune 1/28/00, 12/28/99, 12/3
    AURORA — A priest living here who is facing charges that he sexually assaulted two altar boys in Calif. will surrender voluntarily again to San Bernardino County authorities, his lawyer said.

    Fr. Edward Lawrence Ball, 60, has been living in the Society of the Missionaries of Sacred Heart's U.S. headquarters in Aurora. He was arrested by Aurora police in Oct. and charged with 26 counts of sexual assault that allegedly occurred in Calif. from 1978 to 1985, said that county's supervising deputy district attorney.

    Ball, a priest for more than 30 years, was released in Nov. from county jail after posting 10 percent of a $25,000 bond and placed on electronic monitoring, said his lawyer. At that time, he was ordered not to leave Illi.

    A county circuit judge approved an order that was agreed to by prosecutors and Ball's lawyers. The order modifies the conditions of Ball's bond, allowing him to avoid extradition and return to San Bernardino on his own. Ball was expected to return to San Bernardino no later than Jan. 15.

    Ball was convicted in 1993 of sexual offenses against 3 boys while serving as a parish priest in San Bernardino. He had been living in Tex. when he was arrested and returned to San Bernardino on his own to answer to the charges. After his conviction, Ball was placed on probation, which he has completed.

    After the conviction, prosecutors learned that the priest might have committed prior sexual offenses against children. Ball had made statements to a probation officer alluding to his involvement in such prior incidents but that it wasn't until the alleged victims came forward in the last several months that prosecutors were able to file the latest charges.
    Chicago Tribune, 1/5/00

    CHICAGO — Benjamin Bowman, 61, pastor of the Revival Center Church of God in Christ, pleaded guilty to twice attempting to burn the church which he founded down in order to personally benefit from any insurance settlement.

    According to his plea agreement, he made sure he was out of town on church-related business at the times in Aug. 1994 and Nov. 1995. The first attempt was foiled by his daughter arriving unannounced and smelling gas, and the other by the discovery of his ignition device which had failed.
    Tribune 1/?/00



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