January 24, 2006

Sex abuse detailed as priest's trial begins

LA Daily News

By Brad A. Greenberg, Staff Writer

Retired priest Michael Wempe had a formula for The Seduction.

He searched for weak families, with boys needing a father figure. After winning the mother's trust, he would take her son camping or motorcycle riding or to fire rifles in the woods. First it was with a group, but soon he sought alone time.

Then he began the fondling, which culminated in molestation.

That model was outlined Monday by prosecutors as Wempe's molestation trial got under way in Los Angeles Superior Court - a pattern that even Wempe's attorney conceded.

"He violated the trust of a priest and the decency of any person by molesting numerous children," defense attorney Leonard Levine said. "For that, there is no excuse, there is no explanation and there is no defense. And none will be offered."

What will be offered, Levine said, is evidence that Wempe did not molest the man who has accused him of abuse during the early 1990s. Wempe faces up to 16 years in prison if convicted of five counts of molestation.

Posted by kshaw at January 24, 2006 07:33 AM