October 27, 2005

Fugitive priest pleads guilty to sex abuse

The Dallas Morning News

12:00 AM CDT on Thursday, October 27, 2005

By REESE DUNKLIN / The Dallas Morning News

A Catholic priest whose Australian superiors let him work overseas as a criminal fugitive pleaded guilty this week to 13 charges involving the sexual abuse of several teenage boys, the Australian Associated Press news service reported.

The Rev. Frank Klep was profiled last year as part of The Dallas Morning News' examination of Catholic priests moving from country to country to elude sex-abuse allegations and remain in ministry with access to children.

Father Klep is living with members of his religious order, the Salesians of Don Bosco, while he awaits his sentencing on Dec. 9.

The priest was accused of abusing boys under his care at a boarding school outside Melbourne in the 1970s. He was convicted in 1994 and became the target of a second criminal abuse investigation two years later.

While that case remained unresolved, he was sent to work on the Pacific Island of Samoa in 1998 and remained there until last year.

Salesian officials had insisted he was not in active ministry and was isolated from children. But The News photographed him handing candy to children after Mass and reported he was tutoring students alone in his bedroom.

Posted by kshaw at October 27, 2005 09:06 AM