January 17, 2006

Ex-priest nearing release from prison

The Columbus Dispatch

Friday, January 13, 2006
Dennis M . Mahoney

A former priest who served in the Columbus Catholic Diocese for six years will be released from prison in Maryland on Jan. 22 after serving time for sexual abuse.

Francis Benham, 69, was sentenced to 18 months in the Prince George’s County Correctional Center last March. He had pleaded guilty to molesting a 13-year-old girl and a 15-yearold boy from 1975 to 1979 while he was pastor of a Roman Catholic church in Forestville, Md.

Benham will be on supervised probation for three years, and his name will be added to the registry of sex offenders in Maryland.

Paula Pettiford, spokeswoman for the correctional center, said Benham is being released now because he was given credit for the time he served before sentencing.

Posted by kshaw at January 17, 2006 01:19 PM