Thursday, December 01, 2005

 

Former priest faces sex charges


Fort Collins, Colorado - The sexual abuse scandal that has engulfed the Catholic Church has surfaced in Fort Collins, with a former priest facing charges of sexually assaulting children.

Former Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton parish priest Timothy Joseph Evans, 43, was advised Wednesday afternoon in Larimer County Court that he is charged with two counts of sexual assault on a child by a person in a position of trust and one count of contributing to the delinquency of minor, all felonies, according to court documents.

The Fort Collins police department and the Larimer County District Attorney's Office, citing a gag order placed on the case Wednesday by County Court Judge Peter Schoon, have declined to confirm that Evans is a former priest or discuss where he was arrested or the amount of his bond. A call to the Larimer County Detention Center revealed that Evans was not booked into the jail. District Court Judge Jolene Blair ordered the file sealed on Nov. 22, the day an arrest warrant for Evans was requested by police.

However, a public records search by the Fort Collins Coloradoan showed Evans lived in a residence owned by the church and that an investigation into the allegations began in 2004. Records also indicate that the alleged crimes would have been committed while Evans was serving at the church. However, it is not known if those allegations involve children from the church.

Evans served at the parish for at least four years, leaving in 2002, according to a Coloradoan archive search. Evans was ordained in 1993 and removed from parish ministry in 2002, according to a statement from Francis Maier, chancellor for the Archdiocese of Denver.

In 2003, the archdiocese removed Evans’ “priestly faculties,” which removed him from active ministry, according to Jeanette DeMalo, director of communications for the Archdiocese.

Maier’s statement said the diocese is “deeply concerned” about the charges and urged full cooperation by anyone who might have information about the case.

Deacon Jim Devlin, of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, said he hadn’t spoken to Evans since Evans left the church in 2002 but was shocked when he learned of the charges.

“It’s extremely out of character for the Father Tim, I know,” he said.
The Rev. Larry Christensen, the current pastor at the church, said he had no comment about the charges.

Evans, who remains free on bond, is scheduled to make his first appearance in District Court at 8:30 a.m. Dec. 20.

In August, Fort Collins resident Greg Roberts, 52, filed a lawsuit against the Archdiocese of Denver for sexual abuse he said he had suffered at the hands of a priest 40 years ago. Roberts alleges he was sexually abused by Harold Robert White from 1965 to 1967 while White was a priest at St. Anthony Catholic Church in Sterling.

At least 16 people have come forward with allegations that White, who was ordained in 1960, molested them during his service in parishes across Colorado, including in Loveland and Sterling. White was removed from the priesthood in 2004, although details have not been made available.


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

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