Tag Archives: priest

Kenosha native Mark Ruffalo delivers Oscar-worthy performance in acclaimed ‘Spotlight’

Is there any better team player in movies than Mark Ruffalo?

Whether running in a pack of superheroes, wrestlers or journalists, Ruffalo has a rare ability to slide seamlessly into an ensemble while nevertheless standing out for his talent in doing so. A year after the Kenosha, Wisconsin, native received an Academy Award nomination for his supporting performance as Olympic wrestler David Schutlz in Foxcatcher, the actor is again expected to be Oscar nominated for his key role as a dogged Boston Globe reporter in the newspaper procedural Spotlight.

“I’ve been at the right place at the right time for these two movies, and been able to disappear into the beauty of an ensemble, to serve something that’s bigger than any one particularly individual,” says Ruffalo. “They say something at a moment when the culture’s ready to hear it. A movie, if it speaks to people, it bubbles out of the culture and lands at a moment when we’re ready to have a discussion.”

Ruffalo, one of the movie industry’s most outspoken advocates for environmental (and other) causes, rarely turns down a conversation. (He began a recent interview eagerly imploring a reporter: “Talk to me!”) He has regularly poured his considerable energy into both political activism (most notably hydraulic fracturing) and passionate, striving characters, from the bipolar but exuberant father of Infinitely Polar Bear to his redemption-seeking music executive in Begin Again. He does enthusiasm well, on screen and off.

“I see a lot of light on the horizon. I call it ‘the sunlight revolution’ and it isn’t just about renewable energy,” says Ruffalo. “It’s about enlightening and bringing to light the wrongs of the past. Everywhere I look, I see this inquiry happening. I think people are conscious. I think people are sick of it. They want righteousness. They want to know that’s there’s justice in the world, and they tend to move toward that when given the choice.”

Spotlight, which expanded to theaters nationwide this weekend, dovetails with that mission. The film, directed by Tom McCarthy, is about the Pulitzer Prize-winning reporting by the Boston Globe’s team of investigative reporters — named Spotlight — that uncovered the widespread sex abuse of Catholic Church priests and subsequent efforts to cover up abuse cases.

The cast, including Michael Keaton, Liev Schreiber, Rachel McAdams and Stanley Tucci, is uniformly excellent. And the film, one of the year’s most acclaimed, has been hailed for its verisimilitude in depicting the step-by-step digging of investigative journalism. Ruffalo, 47, plays Spotlight reporter Mike Rezendes.

“These are the people we want to celebrate. These are the people that deserve our admiration,” says Ruffalo. “You can’t have a free world without journalism, and it takes resources.”

To prepare for the role, Ruffalo spent time with Rezendes, observing him at work in the Globe newsroom and getting to know him at his home.

“As I told him, I said, ‘You found out things about me I didn’t want to know,’ says Rezendes. “He worked very hard and he got it.”

Rezendes, whom Ruffalo calls “a master” at his craft, continues to report on sex abuse and the church.

“The Catholic Church has taken some steps in the right direction, which I don’t think it would have taken were it not for us. But it has a ways to go,” says Rezendes.

Ruffalo, his movie-star counterpart, is more emphatic.

“I hope it’s a chance for the church to put people like Cardinal Law in jail,” says Ruffalo, who was raised Catholic. “That guy shouldn’t be living in a palace in the Vatican. He should just be in jail.”

Ruffalo, of course, is continuing his duties as a member (Bruce Banner/The Hulk) of the The Avengers, the last of which was the summer’s box-office behemoth Age of Ultron. He’ll be a part of a planned Thor sequel, and co-stars in next year’s magic caper Now You See Me 2.

But Ruffalo, who’s married with three children, is often busiest off-set. Earlier this month, he gathered other stars in Beverly Hills to protest Gov. Jerry Brown’s use of fracking in California.

“We live in this special time where you can’t hide anything anymore,” says Ruffalo. “All of the past wrongs are going to come to light.”

StageQ revives a death-row play about remaining human

It’s practically unheard of for a new play to open at one theater and be remounted by another less than a year later, especially in Madison.

Yet Finding Human has achieved it and in impressive fashion. The morning after his play’s world premiere at Broom Street Theater in January, playwright Dan Myers received a short text: “StageQ wants this show.”

So Finding Human will open for the second time in 2015 — on Nov. 13 at the Bartell Theatre, StageQ’s home base. Their production brings back the original cast and crew in full, including Myers as the director. It’s an indication of how much the company enjoyed the original run. 

“I personally really, really love the piece,” says Michael Bruno, StageQ president. “Our board really liked the play (too), and thought that it speaks to our mission of producing challenging LGBT theater and encouraging local voices.”

Bruno also knew that the play would benefit greatly from word-of-mouth and, even after a three-week run at Broom Street, there were still many potential audience members disappointed to miss it.

“My feeling was that we could bring it over and find a whole new audience,” he says.

Myers, an actor and Milwaukee native who’s written four produced works and co-written a musical since moving to Madison, says the name of his play can be considered shorthand for “finding humanity” or, better, “finding how to remain human.” It shows the last week in the life of a priest-killer on death row (played by Bob Moore) who never explained his motives, and how those around him struggle to find the answer.

“Essentially what the show is about is: How do you begin to heal after the worst has happened to you?” says Myers. “This is a very difficult story to tell because it touches people in places we don’t want to be touched.”

Finding Human found its origin in Myers’ own anger. “One of the things that ticked me off was — I’m from Milwaukee, and I heard about what was happening with the clergy assault cases, and essentially how the Milwaukee diocese kind of skated out of having to pay all the victims of sexual assault by its clergy there,” says Myers.

It stuck with him, he says, but “it was one of those things where you’re sure you’re angry about it but you’re not sure what to do about it.”

Many of Myers’ characters have stories that develop in counterpoint to his death row character’s. One of them is fellow inmate Bill Shaw, played by Donnovan Moen, a veteran of both Broom Street and StageQ.

“(Bill) had some tragedy that caused him to sort of derail from his life in a fashion that he became homeless and destitute,” Moen says of his role. “He thought prison would be an answer to simplify his life, and get his daily needs taken care of: food and shelter and whatnot. Through the process of the show he discovers a lot about himself.”

Remounting the show, especially so soon, allows the cast freedom to explore their roles, Moen says. Because they know the material so well, “the nuances in the interactions of the characters, as well as the depth of your connection and knowledge about the character, is so much deeper that it allows for reality to really take hold,” he says. “What I think people are going to see is that the show has evolved to an even more dynamic and real level.”

While Moen prefers to build his portrayals organically, he can identify with his character’s pain. While in his 20s, the actor struggled with his sexuality. It was a time of turmoil that included arrests for operating a vehicle while intoxicated.

“That internal struggle that stresses you out — you don’t know how to deal with it, you don’t have any resources with which to deal with it, you don’t know how to find the resources — and it was causing me financial hardship,” he recalls. “I didn’t know what it meant for me, for my future.”

Moen says he attempted suicide, but “as I was lying there, starting to drift away, I called my family and was rushed to the hospital, and the rest is history,” he says. “Facing the tragedy in (Bill’s) life, I could see him contemplating that very same thing, which he gets close to. So it kind of drives a bit of what I’m doing.”

Though Finding Human is a show with a message, “I don’t really like to preach,” says Myers. “Obviously I have an opinion, I have a spin that I want to put on it, but for the most part I like to lay it out there. I believe that audiences are intelligent. I want them to make their own decisions about what they are seeing.”


StageQ’s production of Finding Human runs Nov. 13-28, at the Bartell Theatre, 113 E, Mifflin St., Madison. Tickets are $20, $15 for matinees, and can be purchased at bartelltheatre.org or 608-661-9696.


Pope names next archbishop for Chicago

As the leader of two American dioceses, Roman Catholic Bishop Blase Cupich has spoken out against same-sex marriage and against conservative hostility toward gay rights advocates. He has opposed abortion, while urging parishioners and priests to have patience, not disdain, for those who disagree. And he has criticized fellow U.S. bishops who threatened to shut down religious charities instead of pursuing a compromise with the White House over health care policies that go against Catholic teaching.

On Sept. 20, Pope Francis named Cupich as the next archbishop of Chicago, sending a strong signal about the direction that the pontiff is taking the church. Cupich will succeed Cardinal Francis George, 77, an aggressive defender of orthodoxy who once said he expected his successors in Chicago to be martyred in the face of hostility toward Christianity.

“I think what Francis is trying to do with his appointments in both the United States and around the world is to moderate the conversation and get us past the culture wars and the ideologues,” said Christopher Bellitto, a church historian at Kean University in New Jersey. “Francis is not trying to balance a lurch to the right with a lurch to the left. He’s trying to build up the big middle so we can have conversations and not arguments.”

The Chicago appointment is Francis’ first major mark on American Catholic leadership.

George is two years past the church’s retirement age and is suffering from cancer. The Chicago archdiocese is the nation’s third-largest and among its most important, serving more than 2.2 million parishioners. Chicago archbishops are usually elevated to cardinal and are therefore eligible to vote for the next pope. Both George, and his predecessor, Cardinal Joseph Bernardin, had served as presidents of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Cupich will be installed as archbishop in November.

A native of Omaha, Nebraska, and one of nine children, the 65-year-old Cupich has served in a wide range of roles within the church.

He has been a parish pastor, a high school instructor and president of a seminary. After earning degrees in the U.S. and in Rome, he worked at the papal embassy in Washington, and as a bishop, has led several committees for the U.S. bishops’ conference. For a few years, he led the bishops’ committee on the child protection reforms adopted amid the clergy sex abuse scandal.

In his current posting as head of the Diocese of Spokane, Washington, Cupich inherited the fallout from a previous bishop’s decision to seek bankruptcy protection over sex abuse claims. He started a mediation effort that has drawn praise from local attorneys for victims.

At a news conference over the weekend in Chicago, he cited his family’s immigrant history — his four grandparents were from Croatia — in a call for immigration reform. “Every day we delay is a day too long,” he said. As bishop in Rapid City, South Dakota, starting in 1998, then in Spokane, he has worked extensively with immigrant and Native American communities. About 44 percent of parishioners in the Chicago archdiocese are Latino.

Cupich first became a bishop as the American church leadership began taking a more combative approach to culture war issues, under St. John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI. Yet, he struck a tone that reflects what Francis has emphasized for the church: a focus on mercy over hot-button policies that the pope says has driven away Catholics.

In 2011, Cupich told the anti-abortion committee and priests in Spokane that he wanted an educational, not confrontational, approach to the issue. He warned for having disdain for those who support abortion rights.

The next year, during the run-up to the Washington state referendum that ultimately recognized gay marriage, Cupich repeatedly underscored church teaching that marriage should be between a man and a woman. But he also wrote at length to parishioners about the suffering of gays and lesbians because of anti-gay prejudice. He condemned violence and bullying that has led some gay teens to suicide.

“I also want to be very clear that in stating our position, the Catholic Church has no tolerance for the misuse of this moment to incite hostility toward homosexual persons or promote an agenda that is hateful and disrespectful of their human dignity,” Cupich wrote.

After the Obama administration issued a requirement for birth control coverage for employers, Cupich said faith-affiliated charities should never be forced to provide services that the church considers morally objectionable. However, he condemned threats by some U.S. church leaders that they would shut down social service agencies over the Affordable Care Act.

“These kind of scare tactics and worse-case scenario predictions are uncalled for,” he wrote in a letter to diocesan employees. “I am confident we can find a way to move forward.”

1st openly gay Episcopal bishop getting divorced

The first openly gay Episcopal bishop, who became a symbol for gay rights far beyond the church while deeply dividing the world’s Anglicans, plans to divorce his husband.

Bishop Gene Robinson announced the end of his marriage to Mark Andrew in an email sent to the Diocese of New Hampshire, where he served for nine years before retiring in 2012.

Robinson would not disclose details about the end of their 25-year relationship but wrote Sunday in The Daily Beast he owed a debt to Andrew “for standing by me through the challenges of the last decade.”

“It is at least a small comfort to me, as a gay rights and marriage equality advocate, to know that like any marriage, gay and lesbian couples are subject to the same complications and hardships that afflict marriages between heterosexual couples,” Robinson wrote. “All of us sincerely intend, when we take our wedding vows, to live up to the ideal of `til death do us part. But not all of us are able to see this through until death indeed parts us.”

Robinson did not respond to email and phone requests for comment from The Associated Press.

Robinson has never been fully accepted within the more than 70 million-member Anglican Communion, which is rooted in the Church of England and represented in the United States by the Episcopal Church.

The bishop endured death threats during his 2003 consecration and intense scrutiny of his personal life, and in 2006, he sought treatment for alcoholism. His election prompted some Episcopal dioceses and parishes to break away and establish the Anglican Church in North America with other theological conservatives overseas. Robinson was barred in 2008 by then-Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams from the Lambeth Conference, the once-a-decade global meeting of all Anglican bishops, as Williams struggled to find a way to keep Anglicans united.

But Robinson was also widely celebrated as a pioneer for gay rights, became an advocate for gay marriage and was the subject of several books and a documentary about Christianity, the Bible and same-sex relationships. He delivered the benediction at the opening 2009 inaugural event for President Barack Obama and, after retirement, became a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, a Democratic think tank with close ties to the White House.

Robinson, 66, had been married to a woman and had two children before he and his wife divorced. He and Andrew had been partners for more than a decade when Robinson was elected to lead the New Hampshire Diocese. The two men were joined in a 2008 civil union in New Hampshire, which became a legal marriage when the state recognized gay marriage two years later.

“My belief in marriage is undiminished by the reality of divorcing someone I have loved for a very long time, and will continue to love even as we separate,” Robinson wrote. “Love can endure, even if a marriage cannot.”

A spokeswoman for Episcopal Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori referred requests for comment to the Diocese of New Hampshire. A spokeswoman for current New Hampshire Bishop Rob Hirschfeld cited an email he sent to local clergy and wardens urging prayer for Robinson and Andrew.

Robert Lundy, a spokesman for the American Anglican Council, a fellowship for theological conservatives, said the argument against gay marriage is based on the Bible and will not be helped or hurt by the dissolution of any one marriage.

“The teaching of the Bible and the Anglican Communion is very clear that marriage is the union of one man and one woman for life,” Lundy said in a phone interview.

The Rev. Susan Russell, an Episcopal gay rights leader in the Diocese of Los Angeles who preached at Robinson and Andrew’s union, said the end of the men’s marriage was tragic, but Robinson would remain an “icon of a faithful Christian man living out his vocation, not by his choice, but by his placement in history.”

“Of course, he’ll get some slings and arrows,” Russell said in a phone interview. “But the paradigm has shifted so dramatically that people more and more get that our marriages are no different than anyone else’s marriages, and that includes the reality that some of them fail, no matter our dreams and hopes.”

Police: Priest stole money from nuns to pay for sex with young Moroccan man

An Italian priest was dismissed after police charged him with stealing money from a convent to pay for sex with his Moroccan boy toy, according to the daily newspaper Il Gazzettino.

Police say nuns, from a convent located in the northern province in the Veneto region, entrusted the cash to the unidentified priest. But authorities have yet to release the priest’s name or the amount of money he allegedly stole.

Authorities did say that the priest used the money to pay his young Moroccan, with whom he’s apparently had a “long-standing relationship.”

Il Gazzettino reported that the bishop of the diocese immediately dismissed the priest for “health reasons.” 

Last year, a gay scandal rocked the Roman Catholic Church after a gay hookup site for priests was uncovered. The site operated on a public blogspot platform and had its own Twitter account. 

Last September, an Italian priest from Turin admitted paying a Romanian woman 350,000 euros after she threatened to expose him for having sex with her, La Repubblica reported.

The priest confessed to paying the woman, who was homeless, for sex when they met in 2009. When he tried to end the relationship, she threatened to expose him through “photos and video,” unless he continued to pay her.

Exorcism of 1949 continues to fascinate St. Louis

Saint Louis University junior Zach Grummer-Strawn has never seen “The Exorcist,” the 1973 horror film considered one of the finest examples of unadulterated cinematic terror. He’s only vaguely familiar with the monthlong 1949 demon-purging ritual at his school on which the film and William Peter Blatty’s 1971 novel were based.

But just in time for Halloween, Jesuit scholars have joined a whole new generation of horror buffs in St. Louis to recount the supernatural incident. The university hosted a panel discussion this week on the exorcism, which involved the treatment of an unidentified suburban Washington, D.C., boy. About 500 people crammed into Pius XII Library, with some spilling into the library aisles, leaning against pillars or sitting on desks.

“I’d like to believe it’s the real thing,” said Grummer-Strawn, a theology and sociology student from Atlanta. “But you just can’t know. That’s part of why we’re here. It’s the pursuit of truth. And it’s such a great story.”

The university scholars and guest speaker Thomas Allen, author of a 1993 account of the events at the school’s former Alexian Brothers Hospital, emphasized that definitive proof that the boy known only as “Robbie” was possessed by malevolent spirits is unattainable. Maybe he instead suffered from mental illness or sexual abuse – or fabricated the entire experience.

Like most of religion’s basic tenets, it ultimately comes down to faith.

“If the devil can convince us he does not exist, then half the battle is won,” said the Rev. Paul Stark, vice president for mission and ministry at the 195-year-old Catholic school. He opened the discussion with a prayer from the church’s exorcism handbook, imploring God to “fill your servants with courage to fight that reprobate dragon.”

Some of the non-students in the audience spoke of personal connections to an episode that has enthralled generations of St. Louis residents.

One man described living near the suburban St. Louis home where the 13-year-old boy arrived in the winter of 1949 (his Lutheran mother was a St. Louis native who married a Catholic). Another said she was a distant cousin of Father William Bowdern, who led the exorcism ritual after consulting with the archbishop of St. Louis but remained publicly silent about his experiences – though he did tell Allen it was “the real thing.”

Bowdern died in 1983.

Bowdern was assisted by the Rev. Walter Halloran, who unlike his colleague spoke openly with Allen and expressed his skepticism about potential paranormal events before his death a decade ago.

“He talked more about the boy, and how much he suffered, and less about the rite,” Allen said. “Here was a scared, confused boy caught up in something he didn’t understand.

“He told me, ‘I simply don’t know,’ and that is where I leave it,” the author added. “I just don’t know.”

Allen zealously protects the anonymity of “Robbie,” despite others’ efforts to track him down to this day.

Gary Mackey, a 59-year-old accountant who left work early to attend the campus event, said he also is unsure whether “The Exorcist” was a work of fiction or instead a riveting real-life account of barely comprehensible forces.

He does know this: He cannot forget the movie that he saw with a buddy four decades ago. They drove 100 miles (160 kilometers) from their home in Louisville, Kentucky, to the nearest theater showing it across the state line in Cincinnati.

“I saw the movie when I was 19 years old and it scared me to death,” Mackey said. “I think it’s the scariest movie ever made.”

Catholic Church official’s meth business resembled TV’s ‘Breaking Bad’

To onlookers, Monsignor Kevin Wallin’s fall from grace at his Connecticut parish was like something out of “Breaking Bad,” the television series about a high school chemistry teacher who becomes a methamphetamine lord.

The suspended Roman Catholic priest was arrested on federal drug charges this month for allegedly having methamphetamine mailed to him from co-conspirators in California and making more than $300,000 in drugs sales out of his apartment in Waterbury in the second half of last year.

Along the way, authorities said, he bought a small adult video and sex toy shop in the nearby town of North Haven named “Land of Oz & Dorothy’s Place,” apparently to launder all the money he was making. He has pleaded not guilty, and jury selection in his trial is scheduled to begin March 21.

On social media sites, people couldn’t help but compare Wallin with Walter White, the main character on “Breaking Bad” who was making so much cash that he and his wife bought a car wash to launder their profits. He has also been dubbed in some media as “Monsignor Meth.”

Wallin, 61, was the pastor of St. Augustine Parish in Bridgeport for nine years until he resigned in June 2011, citing health and personal problems. He previously served six years as pastor of St. Peter’s Church in Danbury until 2002.

He was granted a sabbatical in July 2011. The Diocese of Bridgeport suspended him from public ministry last May.

Diocesan officials become concerned about Wallin in the spring of 2011 after complaints about his appearance and erratic behavior, diocese spokesman Brian Wallace told the Connecticut Post.

Some reports of his behavior were startling.

“We became aware that he was acting out sexually — with men — in the church rectory,” Wallace told the newspaper, adding that church officials deemed the sexual behavior unbecoming of a priest and asked Wallin to resign.

Wallace didn’t return several messages left by The Associated Press.

“News of Monsignor Kevin Wallin’s arrest comes with a sense of shock and concern on the part of the diocese and the many people of Fairfield County who have known him as a gifted, accomplished and compassionate priest,” the diocese said in a statement on Jan. 16 after learning about Wallin’s arrest. “We ask for prayers for Monsignor Wallin during the difficult days ahead for him.”

Wallin’s arrest called attention to larger problems within the church, said Voice of the Faithful in the Diocese of Bridgeport, one of many local chapters of the lay organization formed in response to the sexual abuse crisis in the church.

“Catholics have to ask whether the mandatory obligation of celibacy imposes a harmful burden on priests and whether women ought to be admitted to the priesthood,” the group said in a statement. “The steady decline in the number of priests, the aging of priests, the terrible sin of pedophilia among priests, and the downfall of Monsignor Wallin are all signs of a sickness in the priesthood. It is time to seek a remedy for this awful malady that threatens the Eucharist, the center of Catholic life.”

Elizabeth Badjan, a member of the St. Augustine congregation, told The New York Times that Wallin needed the prayers of parishioners.

“This is all the work of evil,” she said as she left Mass last weekend. “He was not close enough to God. He was tempted by the devil.”

Wallin’s case has drawn comparisons to that of the Rev. Ted Haggard, a well-known evangelical megachurch pastor in Colorado who was forced out of his job in 2006 after a male escort alleged Haggard had paid him for sex and bought crystal meth.

Federal agents arrested Wallin on Jan. 3, and a grand jury indicted him and four other people on drug charges on Jan. 15. All are charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of a substance containing methamphetamine and 50 grams of actual methamphetamine, a crime that carries 10 years to life in prison upon conviction.

Wallin is also charged with six counts of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine.

Last July, Drug Enforcement Administration agents in New York told agents in the New Haven office that there was an unidentified Connecticut-based drug trafficker distributing methamphetamine in the region. Two months later, an informant told the DEA that the trafficker was Wallin, according to an affidavit by agent Jay Salvatore in New Haven.

The Connecticut Statewide Narcotics Task Force was also investigating Wallin.

Authorities said an undercover officer with the state task force bought methamphetamine from Wallin six times from Sept. 20 to Jan. 2, paying more than $3,400 in total for 23 grams of the drug.

Federal agents also say they learned through wiretaps and informants about other sales Wallin was making.

Connecticut U.S. Attorney David Fein said federal and state authorities worked together in “the dismantling of what we allege was a significant methamphetamine distribution organization that spanned from California to Connecticut.”

Also charged in the case were Kenneth Devries, 52, of Waterbury; Michael Nelson, 40, of Manchester; Chad McCluskey, 43, of San Clemente, Calif.; and Kristen Laschober, 47, of Laguna Niguel, Calif. Authorities say McCluskey and Laschober were involved in the shipping of methamphetamine to Wallin.

Messages by the AP were left lawyers for Wallin, McCluskey and Laschober. Wallin is being detained without bail at the Bridgeport Correctional Center, state records show.


Illinois priest calls 911 to remove handcuffs and gag he was ‘playing with’

A Springfield, Ill., priest is on administrative leave after calling 911 to report that he was unable to remove a pair of handcuffs he’d been “playing with.”

Father Tom Donovan placed a 911 call on Nov. 28 from the rectory of St. Aloysius Parish asking for help getting out of the cuffs “before this becomes a medical emergency.”

His voice on the 911 tape released yesterday by police sounds garbled or muffled. Police discovered Fr. Donovan was also wearing a gag when they arrived.  

Donovan told police he was alone in the rectory when he was gagged and cuffed.

Kathie Sass, spokeswoman for the Diocese of Springfield, would not disclose Donovan’s whereabouts to the  Illinois Times or say whether he is staying at a church-affiliated location.

“There’s a matter of privacy there,” she said.

“He came to the bishop before anyone was aware of the incident,” Sass said. “He came to the bishop and asked for help and was granted leave.”

St. Paul priest pleads guilty to molesting boys

A priest who formerly served at a parish in St. Paul pleaded guilty Nov. 8, to molesting two boys and possessing child pornography, reported TwinCities.com.

Curtis Carl Wehmeyer, 48, admitted in court to sexually abusing the brothers when he was pastor of Blessed Sacrament on St. Paul’s East Side. He also pleaded guilty to possessing child pornography.

At a hearing, a judge accepted Wehmeyer’s guilty pleas to one count of felony criminal sexual conduct in the second degree and two counts of gross misdemeanor criminal sexual conduct in the fifth degree. Wehmeyer also pleaded guilty to 17 counts of possession of child pornography as part of a separate case.

After the hearing, the boys hugged family members outside the courtroom.

The molestation took place on a camping trip and in a camper at the church from June to Aug. 21, 2010. The priest owned the camper and kept it in the church parking lot.

Wehmeyer admitted to touching the brothers’ genitals, showing them porn and masturbating in front of them. The youngest of the brothers was 12 at the time.

Child pornography was found on Wehmeyer’s computer in the closet of his bedroom after a search warrant was issued to investigate the molestation.

Drunken Oregon priest chased boy he’d just molested down the street in his underwear

An Oregon priest has apologized and said he was drunk when he was caught on the street in his underwear trying to chase down a 12-year-old boy he had just molested.

The Archdiocese of Portland has said it will pay for the priest’s criminal defense, even though it was the first in the nation to declare bankruptcy in 2004, just hours before two civil trials on sex abuse allegations were to begin.

Woodburn resident James Curths told Oregon Live that shortly after midnight on Aug. 13, an out-of-breath boy ran toward him, begging for help eluding a man who was chasing him. Moments later, the Rev. Angel Armando Perez appeared, wearing only his underwear.

Curths and his sister-in-law drove the boy to his relatives’ home.

The boy gave police a detailed account of the alleged abuse and Perez was arrested later the same day.

Perez faces charges of first-degree sexual abuse, abuse of a child in the display of sexually explicit conduct, furnishing alcohol to a minor and driving under the influence of intoxicants.

According to court records, the boy said he was spending the night with Perez, who had told the boy’s parents he wanted to take the boy on a trip to the mountains the next day.

The boy told police Perez gave him a beer and they watched a movie. The boy later fell asleep on an air mattress set up for him on the living room floor.

In the police report, the boy said he was “woken up by a couple of flashes”, and when he opened his eyes, Perez had one hand on the boy’s genitals and the other hand holding a cellphone that he was using to take pictures of the boy. The boy said that while he was sleeping, the priest had lowered the boy’s underwear and shorts to his knees.

Perez drove immediately to the boy’s parents’ home, where he begged the family for forgiveness. He told police that he “blacked out and doesn’t remember what happened.”