Monday, November 21, 2005


Convicted Priest Said Too Close to Kids

ST. LOUIS -- After his conviction for sexually abusing a boy, a retired Roman Catholic priest lived in a retirement home next to a child-care facility, apparently in violation of state law, an activist group said Monday.

The Rev. Thomas Graham had been living at a retirement home in suburban Shrewsbury, said the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP.

After the group's announcement, the St. Louis Archdiocese said it had moved Graham to a different facility, away from children.

The Regina Cleri retirement home is on the same sprawling property as the child-care center, although they are several hundred feet apart and are separated by woods. State law prohibits convicted sex offenders from living within 1,000 feet of a school or child-care facility.

A woman who identified herself as director of Berry Patch child care declined to comment. The center leases space on the property but is not affiliated with the Catholic church.

Graham was convicted Aug. 31 and was sentenced Thursday to 20 years in prison, but he remains free on a $500,000 bond posted by the archdiocese.

Prosecutors said Graham sodomized the boy in the late 1970s in the rectory of St. Louis' Old Cathedral. He has denied sexually abusing the boy and is appealing.

SNAP national director David Clohessy said he was pleased by the decision to move Graham, but wondered why it took nearly three months after his conviction.

An archdiocese statement did not say where Graham had been moved, but said that "he will be residing in a monitored environment" while the appeal is pending.

See also, the never-ending chronicle of church-related crime.

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