October 29, 2005

Priest is a deviate, but not a violent one, judge rules

Philadelphia Daily News


A Catholic priest convicted of assaulting a teenage boy for two years is not a sexually violent predator, a Common Pleas judge ruled yesterday.

The Rev. James Behan pleaded guilty in February to the repeated sexual assault of a 15-year-old North Catholic High School student in the 1970s. The abuse, which included performing oral sex on the boy, went on for two years.

Common Pleas Judge Pamela Dembe's ruling spares Behan from having to register as a sex offender after being released from prison. He faces a maximum of 25 years in prison when he is sentenced Dec. 9.

Dembe said she read 325 letters from people who have known Behan throughout his career as a priest and found no evidence of further sexual attacks in the 30 years since his sexual attack on the teen.

"Unlike most cases when we're trying to project in the future, we have gotten into the future in this case," she said. "We're not trying to project, we're talking about actualities."

Dembe said the prosecution's report asserting that Behan is a sexually violent predator was, "simply inadequate, both legally and from the perspective of what is expected of a medical professional."

Posted by kshaw at October 29, 2005 07:18 AM