March 03, 2005

Perv not high risk, doc says

New York Daily News


A defrocked priest convicted of sexually abusing a 14-year-old boy should not be considered a dangerous sexual predator, according to testimony in a hearing yesterday.

The risk-assessment hearing was held in Suffolk Criminal Court in Riverhead to determine whether Michael Hands, 38, should be listed as a Level 2 or Level 3 sex offender.

Hands is listed as a Level 2 offender in Nassau, but Suffolk prosecutors want him classified Level 3 - at the highest risk for reoffending - in their county.

Hands served 15 months in jail after pleading guilty to sodomy and other charges in Nassau and Suffolk. He befriended the 14-year-old's family while serving as parish priest in Northport and later in East Meadow. Hands was employed by the Diocese of Rockville Centre at the time.

But Hands did not just abuse the 14-year-old, said prosecutor Donald Mates, who painted a portrait of a repeat, high-risk offender.

"He was trolling for more underage victims, visiting offshore Web sites, searching out sexual partners," Mates said.

Posted by kshaw at March 3, 2005 07:30 AM