March 02, 2005

Priest: Abuse won't happen again



March 2, 2005, 7:52 PM EST

Maintaining his sexual abuse of a 13-year-old boy was a one-time offense that won't be repeated, defrocked Catholic priest Michael Hands defended himself Wednesday against allegations that he may have preyed on as many as six underage victims and could do so again.

Hands, 38, who was released last April after serving 15 months in prison for abusing the teen in 2001, appeared in a Riverhead court hearing to determine his risk level as a registered sex offender.

Saying Hands continues to dwell "in a dark corner of this world called child sexual abuse," prosecutor Donald Mates asked Suffolk County Court Judge Stephen Braslow to depart from the standard formula for assessing a sex offender's risk level and assign him to the highest category, level 3.

That would mean Hands would remain on a state registry for 10 years, and would allow law enforcement to notify Hands' neighbors and publish his address. Hands, who has a separate conviction in Nassau County for abusing the same boy, was assigned a lesser risk level of 2 there, and his defense attorney, Peter Rubin, maintains he should be assigned the same in Suffolk.

Posted by kshaw at March 2, 2005 08:18 PM