Multiple Sex And Corruption Scandals Rock Catholic Church: Child Molestation, Sadistic Child Porn, Fraud

It’s been another stellar week for the Catholic Church. Here’s a roundup of just five of the separate crimes that hit my inbox in the last few days.

From the National Catholic Reporter:

A Saginaw, Michigan, diocesan priest, previously cleared of accusations of sexual abuse of a minor, has been caught in a police sting operation and charged with criminal sexual conduct. Fr. Robert DeLand, 71, pastor of St. Agnes Parish in Freeland, Michigan, was arrested Feb. 25 after a 21-year-old man and a 17-year-old boy complained about sexual misconduct by the priest.

The 17-year-old boy, who had been serving court-ordered community service under DeLand’s supervision, agreed to cooperate with police in an undercover operation, which ultimately resulted in the priest’s arrest. DeLand was indicted on two counts of attempt to commit second degree criminal sexual conduct and gross indecency for the 21-year-old’s allegations, and one count of criminal sexual conduct in the second degree for the 17-year-old’s.

From the Catholic News Agency:

The Archdiocese of Mexico reaffirmed its commitment to fighting sexual abuse and expressed its support for the 62-year jail sentence for a priest found guilty of abuse. The archdiocesan communications office issued a statement March 13 on the sentence imposed on the priest Carlos Lopez Valdés, who was found guilty of molesting Jesús Romero several times between 1994 and 1998.

Lopez Valdés, who is now 72, served at San Agustín de las Cuevas parish in Tlapan, south of Mexico City. Romero was his altar boy, and was abused between the ages of 7 and 11. Romero sent a letter to Pope Francis in 2013. The Holy Father replied expressing his “pain” and “shame” for what had happened and asked for “forgiveness in the name of the Church.” The archdiocese also reiterated that “our standard is ‘zero tolerance’ in face of these situations,” and acknowledged “the need to report, recognize the evil and ask forgiveness.”

From the Detroit News:

The Rev. Jon Wehrle, who is proud of his prowess as a builder, constructed his masterpiece on the rural outskirts of this central Michigan town. The two-story, stone-façade house has eight bedrooms, 12 bathrooms, a library, wine cellar, indoor swimming pool and wood-paneled elevator. The 11,300-square-foot home boasts granite counter tops, limestone fireplaces, walnut hardwood floors, crystal chandeliers and stained-glass windows. [Slideshow]

Wehrle, 67, who was pastor of St. Martha Church in Okemos, lived in the mansion, which a contractor said was worth $3 million to $4 million. How could a Catholic priest who earned $42,000 a year afford such opulence? Police officials argue the clergyman had stolen from the Sunday collection plate for at least 19 years. An audit found $5 million missing from church coffers, they said.

From the BBC:

An 82-year-old Catholic priest has been convicted of sexually abusing three children and a student priest in crimes spanning more than 20 years. Father Paul Moore committed the crimes in various locations in Ayrshire between 1977 and 1996. The court heard how he abused one boy at a school, another at a leisure centre and a third on the beach at Irvine in the 1970s. He was also found guilty of indecently assaulting a student priest in 1995.

His youngest victim was just five when the priest abused him in his primary school. The court heard that the priest groomed some of his victims by taking them swimming or out for meals before sexually abusing them. The BBC reported five years ago that Moore confessed his abuse to his bishop in 1996. Ninety-one-year-old Bishop Maurice Taylor gave evidence in the trial and told the court Moore admitted he had “an attraction to young boys” and had “a desire to abuse minors.”

From the Idaho Statesman:

A retired Boise priest was handcuffed and taken to the Ada County Jail on Thursday morning — after a magistrate judge raised his bond to $1 million following the filing of numerous new charges of child porn possession and distribution. That wasn’t the only surprise at the hearing: Prosecutors said a second person had come forward to accuse the Rev. W. Thomas Faucher of child sexual abuse.

Deputy Prosecutor Kassandra Slaven asked the judge to increase Faucher’s bond amount to $1 million. She said investigators found more than 2,000 images and videos of child pornography in Faucher’s possession, some of which depicted “the extremely brutal rape and torture of children.”

She said the content was some of the worst material ever seen by the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and noted that it included “many, many infant children.” Some of the images and videos included torture of adults, as well as torture and killing of animals. “There’s no doubt this defendant has very sadistic and deviant sexual interests,” Slaven said. She said there were “countless” chat conversations in which he talked about his desires to sexually abuse and kill children.