May 19, 2005

Imprisoned priest formally dismissed from clergy

Belleville News-Democrat

Associated Press

ST. LOUIS - A Roman Catholic priest who has opted to stay imprisoned while authorities challenge a court's tossing out of his convictions of sexual misconduct involving boys has been formally dismissed from the clergy, the Archdiocese of St. Louis announced Thursday.

Former Archbishop Justin Rigali initiated the often-lengthy laicization proceedings against James Beine in October 2003 "for the welfare of all children and for the welfare of the Church," the archdiocese said in a statement.

Beine, 63, was suspended from the priesthood in 1977 over allegations of sexual abuse, and in the mid-1990s St. Louis' archdiocese paid $110,000 to settle two lawsuits that alleged Beine sexually abused boys more than three decades earlier.

"James Beine has credible allegations of sexual abuse of a minor against him dating back 30 years," the archdiocese said.

Earlier this month, Beine was ordered freed on appeal bond by the Missouri Supreme Court, 10 days after it threw out convictions on charges that he exposed himself to boys in a restroom in a St. Louis grade school, where he worked as a counselor.

Posted by kshaw at May 19, 2005 08:08 PM