May 27, 2005

Idaho bishop didn't remove deacon who viewed child porn

The Olympian

The Idaho Statesman

BOISE, Idaho Idaho's Roman Catholic Bishop Michael Driscoll, who recently apologized for permitting priests to remain in a California ministry after they had victimized children, failed to remove a Boise deacon after he was told the FBI was investigating the clergyman for allegedly viewing child pornography.

Driscoll had known of the investigation nine months before the church notified members of St. Mary's parish in Boise, where Deacon Rapelyea Howell served, according to the Los Angeles Times and Idaho Statesman newspapers.

The 65-year-old leader of Idaho's 144,000 Catholics was told June 1 of last year that Howell was accused by authorities of viewing Internet child pornography between June and September 2002 when he worked for Casey Family Programs, a Seattle-based foster child counseling service that has an office in Boise.

The foundation monitors computer use by employees and was alerted to suspicious activity by software that tracks keyword searches and Web site visits. After putting Howell, 48, on administrative leave from the job he had held for 12 years, Casey officials turned Howell's hard drive over to the FBI and fired him on Oct. 11, 2002.

Posted by kshaw at May 27, 2005 06:17 PM