March 02, 2005

Catholic Church Denies Cover-Up


By Hailie Brook

As a Deacon with a local Catholic Church prepares to head to prison for possession of child pornography, some parishioners at St. Mary's Parish continue to question the way the church handled the situation.

Last fall, Deacon Robert "Rap" Howell was charged with possession of internet child pornography. In November the deacon pleaded guilty to the crime.

But some parishioners are upset because the church didn't tell them about the conviction until last Sunday. "I'm trying to win the church back, I'm trying to fight for the church that I believe should be there," said St. Mary's Parishioner Erin Brannon.

Last Sunday - in the middle of mass - Erin Brannon took a stand, speaking out against the way he says the church has handled the Howell situation. "I just said I have an announcement and I walked up there and I probably didn't speak very well and I doubt anyone even heard me because I was so emotional," he said.

His emotions were boiling because he said the priest had just announced Deacon Howell was going to jail for a crime he "unknowingly committed." A crime that Howell had confessed to months ago. "The fact is he was caught with the materials on his hard drive and that's the fact," said Brannon, "and the fact is they were obscene materials with children."

Posted by kshaw at March 2, 2005 03:37 AM