February 06, 2005

Some call him priest; church calls him fake

Chicago Tribune

By E.A. Torriero
Tribune staff reporter
Published February 6, 2005

GALESBURG, Ill. -- His followers know him as Father Ryan St. Anne Scott, bishop of the independent Holy Rosary Abbey, currently housed in a converted home for the mentally ill in this western Illinois city.

For more than 15 years, the gregarious Scott--divorced and a convicted felon--has moved his troubled abbey around the Midwest, drawing small bands of disenchanted, mostly elderly, Catholics who long for the Latin mass of their youth.

But time after time, Scott and his followers have parted acrimoniously after battling over property, money and theology. Roman Catholic officials in at least four states have publicly warned that Scott is not a legitimate priest and that the baptisms, weddings, funerals and other ceremonies he conducts are not sanctioned by the church.

Those warnings are now being echoed by the Peoria diocese, which has advised Roman Catholics in western and central Illinois not to attend mass or receive sacraments or counseling from Scott. ...

In 2002, while still running his abbey in Iowa, an emotional Scott appeared in full clerical garb at news conferences in Washington and Dallas, where Catholic bishops were meeting to grapple with the priest sex-abuse scandal.

He provided a graphic account of being gang-raped, along with several other young men, in the 1970s by a group of priests in the rectory of St. John's Cathedral in Milwaukee.

Church officials, police in Wisconsin and victim support groups all rushed to investigate his claims, but none could substantiate his story.

A diocese spokeswoman says Scott never provided specifics, including dates and names of priests or other possible victims. Scott says he attempted to get church officials and detectives in Wisconsin to investigate his claim before going public.

Posted by kshaw at February 6, 2005 09:30 AM