January 12, 2005

Beaten priest resigns positions



The priest found severely beaten in a park last month has quit as a pastor and diocesan official to deal with revelations of "immoral" and "risky" behavior and to focus on his recovery, the Springfield Catholic Diocese says.

The resignation of Monsignor Eugene Costa as chancellor of the diocese and pastor of parishes in Sherman and Athens took effect Friday, according to a news release issued by the diocese Tuesday.

The announcement came three weeks after Costa, 54, was found unconscious near the band shell in Douglas Park, 400 N. MacArthur Blvd., the night of Dec. 21. His car was parked nearby.

Two Springfield teenagers, Jamie E. Gibson, 17, and a 15-year-old boy, were arrested Jan. 3 and charged with aggravated battery in connection with the beating.

Costa, who remains a priest, is still hospitalized at Memorial Medical Center, where he is undergoing therapy.

Neither the diocese nor law enforcement officials have said why Costa was in Douglas Park that night, although the park has a longstanding reputation as a meeting spot for gay men.

Posted by kshaw at January 12, 2005 08:28 AM