Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Defrocked Colorado Priest Convicted of Abuse

A Larimer County District Court jury today found former Catholic priest Timothy Evans guilty of sexual assault on a child.

Evans, 44, is the first Colorado Catholic priest to be convicted since sweeping allegations of clergy abuse surfaced nationwide in 2002, leading to broad reforms within the church.


Jurors found Evans guilty of two counts of sexual assault on a child by one in a position of trust. They also found him guilty of behaving in a pattern of abuse.

I have previously written of this convict's connection to my home parish. My grandmother was quite taken with him. Indeed, he was asked to say her requiem mass per her request. being preferred to the charismatic yet oleaginous Italian-American pastor. I particularly recall a story about Evans complaining about his playing second-fiddle to the man: "Everybody thinks he's so holy, but that's not true." Probably so, but such back-biting of his own superior evidenced Evans' own pride and vanity even then.

Though it is something of a cheap shot, I wonder how much the parish culture might have encouraged the unnatural liberties Evans took. For reasons unknown to me, Spirit of Christ has ended up on a list of gay-friendly churches. Before the last election, a pro-gay marriage editorial was smuggled into the bulletin by the JustFaith group, landing my parish on a list of churches supportive of gay marriage despite her orthodox priests. Lacking any consistency, the piece managed to invoke the words of then-Cardinal Ratzinger's letter Concerning Care of Homosexual Persons to support the latest liberation fad. This stunt successfully burdened the new pastor with the duty of reviewing the bulletin in addition to his other responsibilities. So much for the reputed maturity of the modern laity.

For a time, the daughter of a deacon parishoner who was a founding member of the parish was local contact for Call to Action. At present, there is a group for parents of gays and lesbians at the parish, though by itself that presents no reason to suspect untoward activity on their part. (In my parish's defense, it also hosts a Support Group for Sexual Abuse Victims)

As for Father Evans: what happens to child molesters in prisons is widely acknowledged and, at times, celebrated. I pray Evans will escape the violations he has inflicted on others, and that the just consequences he faces will aid his penance.

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