Friday, April 1, 2011

Priest pleads guilty

http://www.timesnews.net/article.php?id=9030946
Former Kingsport priest's emails, North Carolina apology added to Blountville court files By Kacie Breeding


Published March 31st, 2011 | Added March 31st, 2011 1:47 pm | Comments



William "Bill" Casey



A former Kingsport priest's admission of guilt and apology for sexually abusing a boy in North Carolina are among several items recently added to his case file in Sullivan County court.

William "Bill" Casey, 76, 740 Shakerag Road, Greeneville, is scheduled to stand trial on two counts of aggravated rape and a single charge of first-degree sexual misconduct in Sullivan County Criminal Court on April 11. In a separate case, Casey pleaded guilty to charges of crimes against nature and was given two years of supervised probation in lieu of a three-year suspended sentence in a McDowell County, N.C., court in July of 2010.

Both cases, and a third still pending in Scott County, Va., involve the same alleged victim. Warren Tucker, 45, of Jeffersonville, Ind., alleges Casey sexually abused him from the time he was 10 until he was about 15 years of age. The Sullivan County charges stem from incidents that he alleges occurred while Casey was a priest and he was an altar boy at St. Dominic’s Catholic Church in Kingsport in the 1970s.

Sullivan County Criminal Court Judge Robert Montgomery declined a motion to dismiss Casey's charges last Friday. He also ruled that the North Carolina conviction can be used against him during the upcoming trial.

On Wednesday, Sullivan County Deputy District Attorney Barry Staubus added photos and documents related to the McDowell County case to Casey's file in Sullivan County court. The documents include several emails purportedly written by Casey to various individuals, each one forwarded to Staubus from Father David Boettner of the Knoxville Diocese on March 8.

Casey's admission of guilt and apology for the McDowell County offenses are attached to an email dated July 29, 2010.

The email reads: "I thought you might want to see my plea and statement to the court. My attorney read it. The one who accused me was nearby and heard. He chose to remain silent. Bill Casey."

In the attached document, Casey writes that "many years ago" he had "realized the wrongness of my deeds in relation to Warren Tucker" and "made permanent changes in my life and conduct."

Casey says he, "received the Sacrament of Reconciliation many, many years ago and that brought some peace. But that doesn't take away the deep remorse I feel for having done something wrong and very hurtful. The responsibility rests with me. I was an adult, he was a minor."

He adds that he is, "truly sorry that I have caused Warren Tucker so much pain."

"In a heartfelt way I ask his forgiveness for any and all pain I have caused him," he writes, going on to say that he will spend the rest of his life praying to God for Tucker's "healing and wholeness, and for his family also."

In addition to Tucker's forgiveness, Casey writes that he seeks the same from his own family, friends and others who know him.

He adds that he will, "use any influence I still might have, to get the message across that these things must never happen again."

In an email sent to an undisclosed recipient the day before, Casey says he, "was given the option to make a plea of guilty and be a bit more sure of the outcome."

He describes the terms of his negotiated plea settlement, adding, "I am able to see a bit of hope in the tunnel I've been in."

The email concludes with Casey stating that Tucker is "receiving treatment from the church" and that he continues to "pray for him for complete wholeness."

The earliest email is dated April 21. In it, Casey writes that he is responding to each person who contacted him due to the "difficulty I am swamped in at the present moment." He writes that his attorney, David G. Belser, of Asheville, N.C., recommended that he contact "each of you" and ask that they "consider" writing and mailing a "letter of support" to Belser. It is unclear to whom the email was addressed, as the "To:" line features Casey's name only.

In an email sent two days later, Casey writes, "Dear Friend, Just wanted to say that waiting is not easy. I am hoping the time will come when I can speak. The press and others have already proclaimed a verdict. That doesn't seem entirely right. I appreciate your prayers as we wait. In Christ."

On May 12, 2010, Casey wrote to a man identified as Peter Ferrara, co-founder of an organization called Opus Bono Sacerdotii (Work for the Good of the Priesthood). According to their website, the organization offers confidential assistance to meet the "unique" needs of "priests in crisis."

Casey asks for Ferrara's assistance, citing that he has "very recently been accused of abuse of a minor 30 years ago" and is in a "holding pattern directed by the 2003 Dallas norms." According to bishop-accountability.org, these "norms" refer to the Catholic Church's policies for dealing with allegations of sexual abuse of minors by priests, deacons or other church personnel.

Ferrara responds that he "would be happy to help" and asks Casey to get in touch with him via email or phone.

Staubus' filing also lists two discs. The contents of one disc are described as recordings of a McDowell County investigator's phone call to Casey on April 15 and the message Casey subsequently left for the detective. The second disc reportedly contains a recording of Kingsport Police Detective Chris Tincher's interview of Tucker. Staubus said the discs were not placed in the court file, but were instead delivered directly to Casey's attorneys, Rick and Matthew Spivey.

An attached report describes the recorded exchange between the McDowell County investigator and Casey as well as Casey's follow-up message. The report says Casey agreed to talk, but when asked if he had sexually assaulted Tucker at the Switzerland Inn, he said he would need to speak with his attorney.

When Casey called back, he allegedly told the detective to "take courage that he was cooperating" and that he was "just waiting" to hear back from his attorney.

The photos included in the filing are of the inn and the surrounding area.

In Scott County Circuit Court, Casey is scheduled for a June 27 motions hearing and a July 14 trial.

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