Black Collar CrimesClergy Crimes

April –
October 2000

A – L

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    DECATUR — A minister on his way to County Jail proclaimed his innocence and said he was “set up” on sexual abuse charges.

    Victor Young Pickett, 25, was charged after an indictment by a grand jury with first-degree sodomy, first-degree sexual abuse and second-degree sexual abuse, records showed. The charges stem from a June 19, 1999, offense involving two males, ages 10 and 14, police said.

    According to police, the investigation of Pickett spanned six months and revealed that he allegedly had sexually molested other young males also but it is unknown if other charges will be filed.

    A police investigator said Pickett ran a church out of his apartment. “He’d go around and pick them up and take them to his church. He’d take them to movies or out to eat and that’s when he would molest them.”

    As he was being led to jail, where he was to be held in lieu of bonds totaling $150,000, Pickett said he was an ordained minister and ran the Pentecostal Church of Truth, an outreach ministry, which has about 15 members. He said he had been in the ministry since he was 12 and that he worked with adults and young adults.

    Pickett said he thinks one of the families he’s been helping set him up. He alluded to discovering that some of the people he was helping were “drug users and criminals.” He said, “When you help people and you stop, this is what happens.”
    Daily 5/9/2000

    BIRMINGHAM — A 69-year-old pastor and day care owner was sentenced to 10 years in prison for molesting a teenager.

    The County Circuit Judge ignored pleas for leniency for Rev. James Frazier and sentenced him to the mmaximum term for first-degree sex abuse.

    Frazier’s friends, many fellow ministers, were stunned by the sentence. They are now hoping Frazier will not serve his time among hardened criminals.
    News 5/6/2000



    FRESNO — A former minister and police officer has been sentenced to 21 years in prison for killing his lover’s husband.

    A Fresno County jury had cleared Paul Hurth, 44, of murder but convicted him of manslaughter in the Feb. shooting of car salesman Ralph Peter Gawor. Giving Hurth the maximum term for voluntary manslaughter, the judge said that Hurth had violated his trust as a police officer.

    The four-year police officer and department chaplain claimed he killed Gawor, 43, in self-defense with his service weapon after going to Gawor’s house to tell him of the sexual affair he had been having with Nancy Gawor.

    Hurth, the former pastor at Heritage Baptist Church, was arrested more than a week after the killing and fired from the force.
    AP 8/15/2000

    SAN FRANCISCO — A former Jesuit seminarian who said his elders tried to engage him in sexual acts has settled a harassment case with the Jesuit Order, the seminarian said. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

    John Bollard claimed in a lawsuit that he was subjected to unwanted sexual advances and sexual innuendoes during his six—year tenure at the St. Ignatius college prep school in San Francisco and the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley.

    “I’m happy to have it behind me and satisfied that I achieved my objectives,” Bollard said. “I wanted to tell the story so that people could become aware of the issues involved. And I wanted the church to take the issues seriously.”

    Bollard, who quit the Jesuit order in 1996, claimed that a dozen priests at St. Ignatius and at the theology school sent him pornography and made unwelcome sexual advances.

    During the court proceedings, a legal precedent was set. A judge originally threw out the sexual harassment case, but a federal appeals panel reinstated it. In Dec., the appeals court said the Jesuits could not avoid the lawsuit by claiming the “ministerial exception” to the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

    That exception bars courts from applying the law in hirings, firings and promotions in religious institutions. The reasoning is that civil rights law might clash with religious principles, such as the Roman Catholic requirement that only men can be ordained priests.

    But the appellate panel found that in sexual harassment cases, there are no religious beliefs at issue.
    AP 8/2/2000

    SAN FRANCISCO — The 9 men who have accused defrocked priest Patrick O’Shea of molesting them when they were boys told a grand jury that the monsignor would ply them with alcohol, let them drive his sports cars and used other enticements to keep them under his control for years.

    In testimony made public, the men portrayed O’Shea as a sexual predator who targeted them at an early age and took them on road trips to Lake Berryessa and other spots. Most of the men were altar boys or attended San Francisco parochial schools where O’Shea worked.

    O’Shea, 67, faces 224 counts of child molestation and is being held in San Francisco County jail on $5 million bail.

    In their testimony in April before the grand jury that indicted O’Shea, the men told of sexual abuses that began in the mid—1960s and included a pattern of sodomy, oral copulation, shower massages and swimming pool attacks. O’Shea would take the boys on weekend trips individually and together in small groups, they testified. They said many of the rapes happened at O’Shea’s two-bedroom trailer home at Lake Berryessa, after the boys played a “pass-out game” where they would drink beer, whiskey and other alcohol.

    The men, who were between 10 and 18 at the time, said they would awake after the drinking bouts to find themselves in O’Shea’s bed, naked or wearing only underwear.

    They said there were implicit understandings that if they went along with the abuse, O’Shea would let them go boating with him, drive his sports cars, visit the Elks and other private clubs where they could swim and play racquetball, and continue to have access to large amounts of beer and hard liquor.

    O’Shea knew many of the boys’ parents and in some cases dined with them, the men said. He performed the marriage ceremony for one of the boy’s parents. One of the men, identified only as Michael S., testified that O’Shea picked him for a trip to Lake Berryessa when he was a sixth-grader at Mission Dolores Catholic elementary school.

    “He approached me in the playground at school,” Michael S. said. He said that O’Shea told him, “‘For services well done, we’re doing a little altar boy field trip.’”

    O’Shea allegedly molested him on that trip and subsequent visits to the lake, he said. His protests did no good; after one attack, Michael S. said O’Shea “just said, ‘Shhhh’ and went to sleep.” O’Shea, who was ordained in 1958, worked his way up to become pastor of St. Cecilia’s parish in the Sunset District and an adviser to former Abp. John Quinn. He was pastor of Holy Name of Jesus Church in San Francisco from 1978 until 1990. Four years ago, the San Francisco Archdiocese paid $2.5 million to 15 men who said they had been molested as boys by O’Shea and two other Bay Area priests.

    The sexual abuse case is not the only legal problem for O’Shea. Last fall, the San Francisco archdiocese filed a lawsuit accusing him of embezzling more than $250,000 donated by nuns and parishioners during his 16-year tenure at the two churches.

    Prosecutors had already filed grand theft charges related to the lost funds, accusing him of embezzling church funds to finance a vacation home in Southern Calif. That case is still pending.
    Chronicle 6/17/2000

    FONTANA — A former youth director of a Methodist church has been charged with 10 felony counts of child molestation.

    Rodney S. Callahan of Rancho Cucamonga was arrested at his home by sheriff’s deputies. The Sheriff’s Department investigation alleges that Callahan sodomized a female relative who is a minor.

    The girl told her parents only recently that she was molested by Callahan from Sept. 1998 to Aug. 1999, reports said.

    “Generally, with family molestation cases such as this, the victims don’t disclose it to their family because they love them, they don’t want to tear the family apart,” the sheriff’s spokesperson said, adding that authorities are concerned there might be other victims, because Callahan was a youth director of an AME church.

    No one from the church was available for comment. It has been closed for more than a month due to a fire.
    LA Times 6/16/2000

    SAN FRANCISCO — On the verge of an embarrassing civil trial, the Archdiocese of San Francisco has reached a settlement in the case prompted by a teenage rectory worker who accused his Burlingame pastor of physical and mental abuse.

    Financial terms were not disclosed, but the attorney for the youth, whose suit claimed damages of more than $50,000, said the amount was “very significant.” “It clearly indicates the archdiocese recognizes the validity of the allegations,” said Justine Durrell, a San Francisco attorney representing the youth, identified as John Doe in court documents. “They probably had concerns about going to trial.”

    Church spokesman Maurice Healy said the archdiocese’s insurance carrier paid the settlement, describing it as “a standard release of all claims.”

    In a case that stunned parishioners at St. Catherine of Siena Church, Fr. James Aylward was spotted in Nov. 1997, wrestling in a darkened rectory room with a 16-year-old former altar boy. A parish priest, Fr. John Conley, stumbled upon the encounter.

    After crawling out the room, forcing the youth to face Conley alone, Aylward later insisted the nocturnal incident was a one-time incident of “horseplay and wrestling,” and publicly apologized for his “foolishness and imprudence.”

    Police and the San Mateo County district attorney’s office investigated, finding insufficient evidence to file criminal charges. The archdiocese conducted an internal review, concluding that Aylward’s conduct was inappropriate but not sexual. The archdiocese said it strongly disapproved of priests wrestling with youths, but termed Aylward’s conduct a lapse in judgment.

    Aylward, ordained in 1964, remained in his pastor post for about 7 months, then resigned to later serve as parochial vicar in Mill Valley.

    Last spring, the former altar boy sued, alleging he’d been “physically and mentally abused” by Aylward for more than a year. “Aylward would force Doe to wrestle with him, forcing him to the ground and getting on top of him,” the suit contended. “Aylward would secure Doe in positions from which (he) could not escape and not release him until Doe would groan from pain. Aylward while engaged in these acts would grunt and groan and saliva would drip from his mouth.”

    The suit accused the archdiocese of sanctioning the misconduct by failing to discipline or remove the priest from the parish.

    The archdiocese denied the suit’s allegations. But in Feb., Aylward admitted to a history of inappropriate touching of minor boys for his own sexual gratification. Under oath, the 61-year-old priest confessed to multiple incidents of inappropriate physical contact with minors, over at least 12 years at several parishes.

    In his deposition, Aylward described the physical interaction he had with boys as “wrestling” and admitted that some of the encounters were for his own sexual pleasure. Aylward also said archdiocese officials, during their internal investigation, never asked whether he had engaged in such conduct with other youths. He testified that had his religious superiors probed further, he would have told them the truth. Concerned parishioners Archdiocese officials said they “specifically asked (Aylward) whether he had any sexual contact of any kind with any minors at any time — and he denied having done so ... never wavered from that position.”

    Aylward was immediately placed on administrative leave and remains in that status.

    His revelations startled even his staunchest supporters. In mid-March, more than 100 St. Catherine parishioners gathered in the parish auditorium to discuss the case. Much anger was voiced, not only at their former pastor but also toward the archdiocese for “covering up” misconduct. “What we resent is the way the church sweeps this under the carpet,” said one parishioner. The evening concluded with a parishioner request for a meeting with archdiocese officials. Two months later, no such meeting has taken place.

    In recent weeks, John Doe’s attorneys have given docments from the case, including Aylward’s deposition, to Burlingame police.

    District Attorney James Fox said that San Mateo authorities recently investigated one “questionable incident” from years ago that was mentioned in the deposition. “We concluded that there was no reason to continue any further investigation,” Fox said.

    Aylward’s deposition, however, was apparently a catalyst for the archdiocese to resolve the lawsuit. “It was felt that it was better to settle rather than go to trial due to the complexities involved,” said the archdiocese’s attorney. He said the case would be difficult to defend because of “several left turns.”

    One of the oddest twists in the case involved John Conley, the priest who stumbled upon the nighttime “wrestling” and reported it to both law enforcement and his religious superiors. Before his ordination in 1993, Conley had worked as a federal prosecutor, serving for a time as chief of the criminal division in Detroit.

    Shortly after exposing the wrestling incident, Conley was placed on administrative leave, where he remains. In a highly unusual move, he filed suit against his religious superiors, maintaining that he was defamed and penalized for reporting suspected child abuse. The suit for infliction of emotional distress and defamation was dismissed in San Francisco and is on appeal. “Hopefully this case will encourage the church to reinstate Fr. Conley,” said attorney Durrell. “It would make a real statement in terms of their willingness to encourage whistle-blowers instead of the cloak and dagger approach.”

    The archdiocese has insisted Conley was put on leave not because he reported the incident but for unrelated actions and behavior.

    Conley declined to be interviewed because of his pending case.

    But his Oakland attorneys, John Hill and Michael Guta, depicted the last few years as an emotional torment for the priest. They said his monthly stipend has been cut from $1,700 to $1,200, he was removed from the national directory of Catholic priests, and he’s been “shunned” by fellow priests.

    Where once Conley gave an annual presentation about 12-step recovery programs at a priests’ retreat, he is now “specifically disinvited,” Hill said. Conley was also forced to stop his work as a high school chaplain, Hill said.

    Last June, the priest suffered a heart attack, followed 6 months later by a grand mal seizure from which he is recovering. He lives in a San Francisco rectory and says occasional Masses. On his own volition, he is working with alcoholics and drug addicts. “Given the quality and dedication of this priest, given the drastic shortage of priests, give me one good reason why this priest is not given an assignment,” Hill said. “They thought he was just fine until by law and conscience he reported suspected abuse. Then they came up with all these reasons why he wasn’t a good priest ... He should be thanked and held up as an example rather than relegated to outer Siberia.”

    The archdiocese, Hill said, insists that Conley undergo psychiatric counseling at a residential facility. “That only arose after the report of abuse,” said Hill. “They are attempting to discredit him. “He’s lived under a horrible cloud since he first made the report of suspected molestation. To a large extent, he was vindicated by Fr. Aylward’s admission. At least when he goes out now, other priests can’t look at him as spreading false statements. Spiritually, for him it’s been like the dark night of the soul.”
    Examiner 5/21/2000

    SAN JOSE — A former Newark pastor convicted of molesting a mildly retarded teenager should not go to prison because he did not intend to harm the boy, the man’s lawyer told a judge.

    Calling Howard DePorte’s actions “horribly misguided,” his attorney said the popular religious leader instead should be placed on probation and undergo intensive therapy. A County Superior Court judge granted the request to send DePorte for an evaluation by the state Dept. of Corrections before his sentencing.

    After the examination, which may take up to 90 days, the department will make a confidential sentencing recommendation to the judge. DePorte could face penalties ranging from probation to more than 5 years in prison.

    DePorte, 44 — who still enjoys popularity with many of his former parishioners — has admitted to engaging in sexual activities with the boy, then 15.

    During his trial, DePorte contended he had masturbated in his church office with the victim as part of a lesson on sex.

    The prosecutor told the judge that regardless of DePorte’s intentions, the victim — now 18 — was harmed by his onetime mentor. She has asked the judge to give DePorte the maximum allowable sentence.

    DePorte was found guilty of sexual battery and committing lewd and lascivious acts with a minor. He was acquitted of several more serious charges.

    The family of the teen has filed a civil suit against DePorte.

    The pastor, who worked as a handyman after the abuse allegations surfaced, has been held in jail since his conviction.
    Mercury News 4/29/2000



    DENVER - An associate pastor at a Roman Catholic church in Arvada has been ousted for allegedly embezzling church money. The case against Spirit of Christ Catholic Church associate pastor Fr. Steve Padilla, 49, will be turned over to police, an archdiocesan spokesman said.

    It's unknown how much money is missing. Spirit of Christ, with about 3,000 member families, is one of the largest churches in the archdiocese, which covers 24 counties in northern Colorado. The parish is in the midst of a $4 million fundraising drive to expand its facilities. About $3 million has been pledged, with $1 million actually in hand.

    Padilla is the only suspect in the case, the spokesman said. Padilla, a priest for 21 years and with Spirit of Christ for about 4 years, could not be reached for comment.

    The pastor, Fr. Robert Kinkel, told parishioners at all weekend Masses that Padilla had taken the money, but the spokesman declined to say whether Padilla has confessed.

    The parish and archdiocese are still trying to determine how much money is missing, but the theft apparently occurred over a period of weeks.
    Post 9/26/2000

    AIR FORCE ACADEMY — A lawyer for a former cadet who says she had a sexual relationship with a Roman Catholic priest stationed at the Air Force Academy says the chaplain deserves to be court-martialed because the allegations shake the very foundation of the honor-bound institution.

    In Nov., Air Force Maj. Susan Archibald, 35, notified the academy that she and Nicholson had had a sexual relationship while she was freshman at the academy in the spring of 1984. Last summer, after encountering him at the academy, she says, she had sex again with the priest.

    Robert Cusick, the attorney for Archibald, said Fr. Pat Nicholson should be court-martialed for the breach of trust. The relationship in 1984, Cusick said, is “characteristic of abuse, whether or not it may have the colorization of romance. It’s completely inconsistent with the duties of an officer, even if he’s not a Catholic priest.”

    According to a source familiar with the investigation, the Office of Special Investigations has confirmed that at least one other Air Force woman had an improper sexual relationship with Nicholson.

    Cusick said he believes that someone at the academy told Nicholson that he was under investigation. Cusick said that tip off may have given Nicholson time to remove letters from his home that had been written to him by other women.

    Archibald said Nicholson was “offered an Article 15” and accepted. An “Article 15” is an administrative regulation that covers a broad range of violations and is not open to the public, unlike a court martial.

    Nicholson is still stationed at the academy, but his contact with cadets for has ceased, as well as his duties as a chaplain.

    Archibald, a reserve officer, said that the academy is trying to give the public the impression that her sexual relationship is an isolated incident that occurred 16 years ago. “Actually, what they focused on is what his behavior has been in the last six months,” she said. “There is another victim that has given testimony.”

    Both Cusick and Archibald believe Nicholson was “tipped off.” Archibald said that even though she had not heard from Nicholson since last summer, he called on the very day the academy decided to pursue an investigation.

    Cusick said Archibald had seen letters in Nicholson’s home that had been written to him by other women. “We have reason to believe that there was a substantial number of letters in his home that Susan had seen,” Cusick said. “The letters would be quite incriminating. And when they went to look for them, they were not there.” Cusick said he believes Nicholson’s home was searched in Dec.
    Denver Post 4/21/2000



    BRIDGEPORT — The Diocese of Bridgeport said it settled a lawsuit brought by a former altar boy who alleged he was sexually abused by a priest more than 35 years ago.

    The settlement, filed in Superior Court March 21 but not made public until recently, ended the highest-profile case of abuse by a priest in Conn. — and one that previously resulted in a $1 million verdict against the diocese.

    “We believe the settlement is in the best interests of both parties, and beyond that, the civil suit has been terminated,” said Tom Drohan, spokesman for the diocese. “Part of the stipulation is that the terms (of the settlement) will remain private.”

    Former altar boy Frank Martinelli, 52, who now runs a consulting business near Milwaukee, filed his lawsuit in 1993. He charged that when he was an altar boy at St. Cecilia Church in Stamford, Connecticut, he was sexually abused by Fr. Lawrence Brett on 3 occasions between 1962 and 1964.

    Martinelli testified during his 1997 trial that he repressed his memory of the abuse until 1991, when he spoke to an old friend who said he was also abused as a child by Brett.

    Brett, whose whereabouts are still unknown, was being sought by the FBI for the alleged sexual assault of children in Baltimore, said Martinelli’s lawyer. “Fr. Brett has been accused by many, many people of abuse,” she said.

    A federal jury in New Haven awarded Martinelli $750,000 in damages in Aug. 1997, and U.S. District Judge Janet Bond-Arterton added $250,000 in punitive damages. But the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York in Nov. 1999 overturned the verdict, saying the judge’s original instructions to the jury were faulty.

    The Bridgeport diocese still faces about two dozen other lawsuits by people who alleged they were abused by priests in the 1970s and early 1980s, Drohan said.
    Reuters 4/4/2000



    TAMPA - A one-time Baptist church deacon was sentenced to 21 months in federal prison for what the FBI called "cyberterrorism" that targeted young women on the Internet.

    Robert Harvey Alexander, 52, had assembled a list of 100 e-mail addresses of high school and college students and demanded they have sexually explicit conversations with him or he would ruin their reputations, court records said.

    Alexander, who was a deacon at First Baptist Church in Tampa at the time of his arrest, also taunted his victims by telling them that police couldn't find him. FBI agents arrested him last Nov. at a computer terminal at a Tampa public library.

    Alexander pleaded guilty to 6 counts of extortion. His attorney argued that Alexander suffers from bipolar disorder and didn't fully understand what he'd done.
    AP 10/7/2000

    PACE - A Panhandle minister faces a possible life sentence after he was arrested and charged with molesting children and young adults who lived with his family.

    Floyd W. Linder Jr., 54, was arrested by sheriff's investigators and charged with 9 counts of capital sexual battery and 3 counts of sexual battery. Sheriff's investigators also obtained warrants charging 2 additional counts of sexual battery 15 years ago when Linder lived in Pensacola.

    Linder, pastor of Pace Apostolic Church, was being held without bail at county jail.

    Santa Rosa County sheriff's spokesman Jim Lyle said Linder has been investigated several times for sexual abuse since the 1990s, but he was able to keep his victims from talking by threatening to kill his wife. But Beverly Linder died in May of a stroke and Floyd Linder was arrested after detectives again interviewed his alleged victims, Lyle said.

    Linder's victims ranged in age from 5 to 24 years old when they were assaulted, records show. But Sherell Farmer, Linder's stepdaughter, denies her stepfather assaulted anyone. "I live right behind him. There's no way," said Farmer, 33 and the oldest of eight girls and one boy raised by the Linders.
    AP 10/1/2000

    BRADENTON - A minister has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for fondling a child, which he will serve after finishing a 7-year sentence for a child pornography conviction.

    Lawrence Kilbourn, 44, was sentenced in state court after pleading no contest to a charge of attempted capital sexual battery. He had faced a maximum sentence of life in prison for sexual battery on a child younger than 12, but he pleaded to a lesser charge and avoided a jury trial.

    A federal sentence was imposed two weeks ago after Kilbourn was found guilty of possessing child pornography.

    Assistant State Attorney Ed Brodsky said he agreed to the plea bargain at the request of the child's family to protect their daughter. "The victim was asleep during the act of sexual abuse, and to this day does not know she was sexually abused," Brodsky said after the hearing.

    Kilbourn was the founding pastor of Faith United Methodist Church in Bradenton and later became pastor at Forest Hills United Methodist Church in Hillsborough County. He resigned a year ago, shortly after his arrest.

    The abuse came to light after Kilbourn's 17-year-old daughter found a video cassette at home showing a man fondling a girl. The daughter recognized her father by a ring on his hand and furniture in the house and turned over the videotape to authorities.

    Brodsky said the videotape showed young girls at Kilbourn's home for a sleep over and Kilbourn going from child to child. Kilbourn pleaded guilty in Feb. to a federal charge of receiving child pornography by computer.
    AP 9/30/2000

    MIAMI — A prominent Roman Catholic priest was netted in a prostitution sting, the latest in a series of high profile officials arrested in an area of Miami known as a haven for streetwalkers, police said.

    Fr. Patrick O’Neill, 60, a high-ranking priest in the Archdiocese of Miami and a former university president, was arrested July 5 and charged with soliciting sex after he pulled his Mercedes to a stop on a downtown street and propositioned a male undercover police officer, police said. “He offered $100 in exchange for some sexual fondling,” the police spokesman said.

    O’Neill was arrested for a misdemeanor but not taken into custody because he agreed to appear on his own recognizance. He served as president of Miami’s St. Thomas University, a school of 2,100, for nearly a decade in the 1980s and currently heads the Archdiocese of Miami’s campaign to draw lapsed Catholics back into the fold. He is also president of key local Catholic organizations including the South Florida Center for Theological Studies, the National Conference of Christians and Jews and the New Hope Charities Foundation.
    Reuters 7/12/2000

    TAMPA — The search of an unpaid storage locker turned up pictures of young naked boys and led police to a church youth counselor who now faces child sex charges.

    Marvin C. Thompson, 52, was being held without bond on 8 counts of sexual battery and lewd and lascivious conduct with children after his arrest in connection with sexual acts on two boys, ages 5 and 8.

    Thompson had worked as a volunteer counselor for the Royal Rangers, a youth group affiliated with Temple Terrace Faith Assembly and had worked with at least one other Tampa church youth group, according to investigators.

    The alleged victims, however, were not members of the church groups, they said. Police said Thompson had not paid his rental fee on a storage locker and when the owner opened it, he found hundreds of pictures of naked boys. The owner called police.

    Detectives said they are searching for other possible victims and that after his arrest, Thompson told officers of sex acts with children dating back to the 1960s.
    AP 6/7/2000

    CLEARWATER — A former pastor has been sentenced to 20 years in prison after pleading no contest to charges he molested two young girls.

    Rev. Charles Robinson, 63, former pastor of an AME Church in St. Petersburg, pleaded no contest to 5 felony charges of sexual contact with parishioners, ages 13 and 15, in 1998 and 1999.

    Investigators said while sexual relations were consensual with the older girl, the younger teen told police he forced her. Under Florida law, it is illegal for an adult to have sex with a minor even if the contact is consensual.

    In an agreement with prosecutors, Robinson pleaded guilty to 4 counts of handling and fondling a child under 16 and one of performing a lewd and lascivious act.

    Robinson faced a maximum sentence of 75 years in prison if convicted at trial. The prosecutor said the minister was offered the plea agreement because the victims’ families wanted to avoid the trauma of trial.
    AP 6/7/2000



    CHICAGO - A priest attacked an Illinois abortion clinic, ramming his car through its garage then swinging a pickax shouting: "This place is condemned and you are condemned."

    Fr. John Earl, 32, priest of St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Rochelle, Ill., caused no injuries at the Northern Illinois Women's Center, at Rockford, while damage to the building was "moderate," Police Lt. Joe Rinaldo said.

    The building's owner, Wayne Webster, fired two rounds from a shotgun into a wall to frighten the priest. Police found the priest lying down when they arrived at the scene.

    The incident came two days after the FDA approved the abortion pill RU-486 as a nonsurgical alternative for early-term abortions.

    Wayne said the incident has been recorded on clinic videotapes. The priest was charged with burglary and felony criminal damage to property, posted bond and was released, Rinaldo said. There were no further details.
    Reuters 9/30/2000

    CLINTON — A state district judge levied a total of $20,000 in fines against a minister charged with two counts of molestation of a juvenile.

    Rev. William Thomas Rose III, 51, pleaded guilty on April 24 to molesting two girls in Wilson while he was pastor of the First Baptist Church of Wilson in 1986. The girls are now ages 19 and 23, according to court records.

    “Unless you come to grips with the fact that you molested two little girls, you’re in trouble — because it could happen again,” District Judge Wilson Ramshur told the defendant. “Contrition is one step toward salvation,” the judge added.

    Ramshur also sentenced Rose to two consecutive 10-year prison terms, but suspended the sentences and placed him on probation for 10 years. As a condition of probation, the defendant is prohibited from being alone with anyone younger than 18.
    Advocate 6/28/2000



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