February 09, 2005

Ex-N.C. priest confesses to sexual abuse

News Observer

By MARYCLAIRE DALE, The Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA -- A priest who taught at a Roman Catholic high school for boys pleaded guilty Tuesday to sexually abusing a student in the late 1970s.

The Rev. James J. Behan, 61, is an Oblate priest who served in North Carolina for two decades and now lives in Maryland. He faces up to 25 years in jail for involuntary deviate sexual intercourse and corruption of minors. He remains free on bond at an Oblate retirement home until his sentencing in May.

Behan performed oral sex on the teenager dozens of times from 1978 to 1980 when he taught at Northeast Catholic High School for Boys, said prosecutor Maureen McCartney. The victim, who was 15 when the abuse started, had thoughts of becoming a priest and spent considerable time with Behan, she said.

The sex acts took place at rectories and on overnight trips, she said.

"This is a person that was a priest. He taught at the same school, he took this student under his wing, and then he abused him," McCartney said.

Posted by kshaw at February 9, 2005 07:19 AM