March 23, 2005

Contradictory reports in Costa case



Springfield police reports present two contradictory theories about what led to the severe beating of a Catholic priest in Douglas Park in December.

Police say the two teenagers accused of the crime have given them one story. However, investigative reports obtained by The State Journal-Register indicate a roommate who saw the youths immediately after the beating told police a different version.

Authorities have said the boys told them they were cutting through the park when they stopped to have a cigarette and were approached by the Rev. Eugene Costa. But, according to the thick stack of police reports, the friend said the two accused teens might have gone to the park intending to beat or rob homosexuals.

Douglas Park has a longstanding reputation as a meeting place for gay men.

Jamie E. Gibson, 17, of the 1100 block of South Spring Street and Ryan Boyle, 15, are charged with aggravated battery, a Class 3 felony punishable by up to two to five years in prison. Both were on probation at the time, and Boyle has been charged as an adult in the case.

Gibson told police during a Jan. 3 interview what "hypothetically" happened, the reports say.

"Jamie stated 'hypothetically,' 'Let's say me and Ryan were cutting through the park and stopped near the park bench to smoke a cigarette and rest for a second,'" according to one report. Gibson and Boyle "were smoking and talking when a older white male walked up to them and started talking to the pair."

The older man later was identified as Costa.

"The older male then offered the boys $50 ... for (sex acts)," says the report written by police detective Paul Carpenter. "Jamie stated he was not like that and the male rubbed up against him and touched his leg."

Posted by kshaw at March 23, 2005 07:45 AM