Black Collar CrimesClergy Crimes

April 2001 –
February 2002

M – W

  • Massachussetts
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    BOSTON - A priest was arrested on child rape charges for allegedly assaulting a 15-year-old girl repeatedly over a four-month period. Fr. Kelvin E. Iguabita, 33, pleaded innocent and was ordered held on $15,000 bail.

    In a statement, the Archdiocese of Boston said Iguabita would not be given any assignment pending the outcome of the criminal charges and a church review. The archdiocese said Iguabita took a leave of absence last July but did not say why.

    Iguabita was assigned to All Saints Parish in Haverhill as parochial vicar when the alleged assaults took place in 2000, police said. The girl did light housekeeping in the church rectory on Sat. mornings. ``At no time did I think it was right. Part of me wanted to go along with it because he was my priest,'' the girl said in a statement to police.
    AP, 1/15/02



    FERGUS FALLS - Merv Kelley, former pastor of the Church of the Nazarene, was found guilty of psychotherapist misconduct as well as clergy member misconduct for having a three-year sexual relationship with a parishioner he was counseling. Each count faces a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison and a $30,000 fine.

    Kelley remained free on his own recognizance prior to sentencing. A pre-sentence investigation and a psychological evaluation was to be conducted prior to sentencing.
    Daily Journal, 5/8/01



    JAYESS - Valley of the Kings Church patriarch David Earl King, 66, and Nathan Paul King, 32, King's adopted son, were indicted in April on charges of sexually abusing a 14-year-old boy who attended their church and school.

    The elder King was sentenced to 36 years in prison for sexual battery, conspiracy to commit sexual battery and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. He was fined $16,000 on all counts. His son received 18 years and 6 months for the same charges and was also fined $16,000.

    A third man, Gary Lynn Bates, 21, of Denham Springs, La., was arrested on related charges. All three pleaded innocent.

    Bates testified that he, David Earl King, and the young victim engaged in sex together, ``three or four times.'' Bates said Nathan Paul King joined them twice.

    Bates said he was threatened with expulsion from the church by the elder King if he did not continue to have sex with the child.

    Under questioning by the defense, Bates acknowledged that he was promised 5 years probation in return for cooperating with prosecutors.

    The 14-year-old's parents claim the Kings sexually abused their son and threatened to castrate him if he spoke of it, Sheriff Duane Dillon said. The indictment includes a second possible victim, identified as an 11-year-old boy who alleges Nathan King attempted to have sex with him.

    Since the arrest, the sheriff says at least 8 people from Tex., Lou., and Miss. have come forward, alleging sexual abuse by David King and church followers. Some allegations date back decades. David King described the Valley of the Kings Church as ``an independent holiness church'' during the hearing, but the prosecutor called it a cult-like group, with the elder King as its patriarch.``He's got an uncanny control over his congregation. He can tell them to do anything and they'll do it,'' said lawyer Conrad Mord, who has handled three previous sexual abuse cases involving the church.

    David King was born in a farming community and returned 23 years ago as a preacher with a large family and followers. About 35 people now live on the church grounds, an isolated 58-acre rural compound with a large house and a scattering of mobile homes flanked by elm and magnolia trees. The church basement doubles as a school for the children.

    Authorities say King's followers make money selling peanut brittle door to door and, despite little interaction with the surrounding communities, neighbor's say the group is well known.

    Authorities said they seized more than $100,000 in cash, several weapons and pornographic magazines from David King's home. The Kings were denied bond and remain jailed.
    AP, 8/31/01, 6/8



    NEW YORK CITY - A Park Avenue lawyer stunned residents of the Tremont section of The Bronx by accusing 4 priests from the local Catholic parish of sexually abusing a teenager.

    Lawyer Laurence M. Deutsch told 20 residents at a community council meeting that four priests from St. Simon Stock Church , all of whom have been transferred, used his client as a sex toy several years ago when he was a teenager. He also accused the parish and the Archdiocese of New York of covering it up. Deutsch then asked the community for help in finding other victims who may not have come forward. A lawsuit filed in Bronx Supreme Court in March 2000 charges that between Jan. 1996 and Aug. 1998, the teen was given cash in exchange for sexual favors while he worked as a secretary at the church rectory. It charges that "a group of predatory, pedophile priests" led by Fr. Ruben Rodriguez, the pastor, used alcohol and gay child pornography to "groom" and individually seduce the teenager, who witnessed Rodriguez and two other priests, Frs. Esteban Rodriguez (no relation) and. John Albino, participating in "group masturbation."

    It also alleges Esteban Rodriguez and Fr. James Tamburrino, who have a history of sexual misconduct, on separate occasions threatened to harm the teen if he exposed their sexual escapades. Tamburrino "became involved in a physical altercation" with the youth to intimidate him. The alleged victim, now 21, began getting anonymous harassing telephone calls. Fearing for his life, he moved out of the state and is seeing a psychiatrist.

    When the boy and his family confronted church leaders in 1999, the archdiocese and the Carmelite Friars, who run the parish, tried to get them to sign a release.

    Lawyers for the church denied the charges.
    NY Post, 6/23/01

    WHITE PLAINS - A priest who is the spiritual adviser at a Connecticut high school was arrested after allegedly having explicit sexual conversations online with an undercover agent posing as a 14-year-old boy.

    The arrest was the latest in an ongoing sex sting in New York's Westchester County that has resulted in 42 arrests and 35 convictions.

    Fr. John J. Castaldo allegedly described to the undercover agent the explicit sexual activity he wanted to engage in. He was charged with attempted dissemination of indecent material to a minor, which is punishable by up to four years in prison. The sting, in which undercover agents joined chat rooms and posed as children, has led to the arrests of six other educators.
    AP, 5/26/01



    FARGO - A federal jury ruled that Dale Trautman, a former pastor of Olivet Lutheran church, took sexual advantage of a female parishioner, but the civil court jury also assessed some responsibility to her.

    The jury deliberated for about 7 hours before assessing $80,000 in damages against Trautman.

    Jean and John Enderle sued Trautman, Olivet Lutheran Church, and the church's synod in Jan. 2001.

    In the suit, Jean Enderle claimed that Trautman sexually exploited her when she turned to him for counseling. She testified that Trautman sexually abused her from 1988 until 1994. The Enderles also accused Olivet and the Eastern North Dakota Synod of the ECLA of negligence in not stopping the abuse.

    Trautman claimed that he had had a consensual affair with Enderle.

    Karen Eriksmoen, another former church member who also accused Trautman of sexual misconduct, cried in the courthouse hallway after the jury rendered its verdict. Other Olivet members also cried and hugged one another.

    Trautman walked from the courtroom declining to answer questions.

    The jury found the church and synod were not negligent and posed no damages against them.

    Church and synod officials testified that they delved into rumors of sexual impropriety, but could do little until Eriksmoen told church officials in Feb. 1995 that she had sexual contact with Trautman. Within days, Enderle told church officials about her experiences with Trautman.

    The jurors assessed Enderle 40 percent responsibility, reducing her damages to $48,000. They found Trautman 60 percent responsible.

    The jury also ordered Trautman to pay John Enderle $9,000 for damages to his marriage.

    If the jury ruled that Enderle was 50 percent responsible, she would not have been entitled to any compensatory damages.

    Enderle said the jury's decision was a victory against Trautman despite being assessed some of the blame. She said she may contact jurors to find out why they hold her partially responsible.

    "I have no regrets whatsoever about bringing this case forward," Enderle said outside the courtroom. "It was an absolute moral imperative to do so."

    Enderle said she was disappointed that the church and synod were not found negligent.
    Forum, 2/8/02



    CLEVELAND - A priest about to say a memorial Mass for his late sister was arrested, hustled off to federal court and charged with involvement in an international scam against insurance companies.

    Msgr. Emilio Colagiovanni, 81, appeared briefly before a federal magistrate before being sent to Hartford, Conn., the base of a worldwide investigation into the activities of financier Martin Frankel.

    Frankel, 26, of Toledo, Ohio, fled the United States in 1999 to avoid prosecution, but he was caught in Germany and brought back in May to face charges that he bilked insurance companies out of more than $200 million. He has pleaded innocent.

    Colagiovanni, who has served as president of a foundation with huge accounts at a Vatican City bank, is accused of pledging $1 billion in foundation funds as collateral for Frankel's purchases of insurance company assets. He was paid $40,000 for his efforts, investigators said, and promised $5 million more.

    Federal agents led Colagiovanni away after a brief court appearance and put him on a plane for Hartford, where the charges originated. He was still wearing his clerical collar.

    If convicted, Colagiovanni faces up to five years in prison for wire fraud and up to 20 years for conspiracy to launder money. He was to be under house arrest and wear a monitoring device.

    His attorney said that his client has done nothing wrong, that the FBI and IRS merely want to secure his testimony against Frankel. He said federal agents had interviewed Colagiovanni earlier in Rome, and that the priest has been "very cooperative" in the investigation.

    Colagiovanni's family was shocked by his arrest, which came at the home of another sister. The family was preparing for the memorial Mass when IRS and FBI agents arrived.

    According to a probable cause affidavit, Colagiovanni began working with Frankel in 1998, when they met at Frankel's mansion in Greenwich, Conn.

    As president of the Monitor Ecclesiasticus Foundation, which publishes a journal of Roman Catholic canon law, Colagiovanni controlled an account in a Vatican City bank that serves religious groups and their members. At Frankel's behest, he told regulators and companies that he transferred $1 billion of its money to the St. Francis of Assisi Foundation, which had a bank account in the British Virgin Islands.

    The St. Francis Foundation posed as a charity, according to the affidavit, but its real purpose was to mask Frankel's involvement in the purchase of assets belonging to various American insurance companies.
    AP, 8/31/01



    BREMERTON - A former naval hospital chaplain has been accused of indecent assault and inappropriate sexual conduct with two male sailors, authorities said.

    Cmdr. Robert Milewski, known as ``Father Bob,'' faces a court-martial for the alleged incidents at his home early last year. The Roman Catholic chaplain has served in the Navy since 1970 and was stationed at Naval Hospital Bremerton from 1996 to June 1, 2000.

    "Nothing is alleged to have happened at Naval Hospital," and neither of the alleged victims were patients, a hospital spokeswoman said.

    Milewski's general court-martial, the most serious type of military judicial proceeding, will be heard by a jury of military officers. The hearing was to begin April 23.

    Sun, 4/18/01



    WAUSAU - A priest was sentenced to 18 months in jail and 20 years probation after pleading guilty to molesting and exposing himself to teen-age boys under his care at two churches.

    Fr. Timothy E. Svea, 39, was convicted of second-degree sexual assault of a child under 16 and several counts of exposing himself to a child. Svea also pleaded guilty to charges of false imprisonment.

    According to court records, the victims were boys as young as 15 who had volunteered for mission work with the Institute of Christ the King, a nondiocesan international religious group based in Florence, Italy.

    The abuse began in 1998 while Svea headed the mission group in St. Mary's Ridge in Monroe County and continued when the group moved to St. Mary Catholic Church in April 1999, court records said.

    One of the boys told investigators that Svea gave him weekly massages in which he molested the boy and showed him pornographic pictures, court records said. The boy said in one incident, he was handcuffed and bound to a bed. A spokesman for the Institute of Christ the King suspended Svea from all duties after the allegations surfaced in March 2001.

    Svea has spent 11 months in treatment at St. Luke Institute near Washington, D.C., authorities said.

    AP, 2/26/02



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