You are supposed to be able to trust your priest or other spiritual leader and lean on them for advice. Your priest is supposed to be available as a resource to guide you through difficult times. Your priest, however, is not supposed to be the cause of your difficult times. As has been the case in other states throughout the country, a former Kingsport, Tennessee priest, has turned that notion of trust upside down. So what exactly happened?
Charges of Sexual Misconduct
The former priest faces charges of first-degree sexual misconduct and two counts of aggravated rape in Blountville court. His hearing has been reset for later this month. The charges against the priest stem from allegations that he molested a boy shortly after starting as a priest at St. Dominic’s Catholic Church in Kingsport during the 1970s. The plaintiff alleges that the misconduct started when he was only 10 years old. And the abuse wasn’t an isolated incident. It lasted until the plaintiff was around 15 years old. There were allegedly more than 50 incidents. According to the plaintiff, the abuse occurred in the church rectory.
Phone Conversation Details
The court records detail a 2009 phone conversation between the former priest and the plaintiff.
The conversation included an exchange between the two where the former priest allegedly told the plaintiff, "We’re friends in a way that nobody else has ever filled."
The former priest then suggests they get together for a meal, and inquires about the plaintiff’s phone number. The former priest allegedly tells the plaintiff, "What I want to do if I can be an advisor, or encourager, or whatever, I want to be that for ya."
The plaintiff allegedly tells the former priest he’d like to be friends as well, but allegedly continues, "But I guess, I mean I’ve been kinda conflicted so I don’t want you to think that I’m, you know, trying to get back with ya to do the things like we did when I was kid, you know, sexual things, I just want us to be like friends."
The former priest allegedly agrees, "That’s the boundary."
Not an Isolated Incident
This is the not the only case pending against the former priest. He has already pleaded guilty to similar charges in McDowell County, N.C. There are additional charges pending against him in Scott County, Va. By the time the allegations in the current case were made public, in April 2010, the former priest had already retired. He was subsequently suspended from the Catholic ministry pending completion of the laicization process.
If the allegations against the former priest are true, he did more than shatter the life of the plaintiff. He sullied the name of priest’s everywhere. His alleged actions were morally deplorable. This isn’t the first time a priest has been accused of sexual misconduct against a young boy. With that said, there are many priests out there who do work to help people in need. Every time that you hear a story, however, like the alleged one about this former priest in Tennessee, that trust foundation sinks a little more. Until this type of behavior ends, the trust foundation will continue to crumble.