January 24, 2006

Prosecutor: Priest chose victims carefully for molestation

Monterey County Herald

Associated Press

LOS ANGELES - The priest chose his molestation victims carefully - youngsters from poor, dysfunctional families, groups of brothers so deprived of attention and material things that they could be easily manipulated, a prosecutor said.
The boys were drawn to Michael Wempe, the "hip" priest who wore his hair long, rode a motorcycle and gave such dynamic sermons that people followed him from parish to parish to hear him speak, Deputy District Attorney Todd Hicks told a jury Monday in opening statements at the former Catholic priest's trial.
But he added, "The defendant had a dark side. He wanted to touch boys and enjoy it. ... His lifestyle was preach on Sunday, molest Monday through Friday and pray on Saturday."
Wempe's attorney, Leonard Levine, did not dispute in his opening statement accusations that the ex-priest might have abused boys over a 15-year period beginning in 1972. But he added that Wempe is not guilty of the crime with which he is charged, molesting another boy in the 1990s.

Posted by kshaw at January 24, 2006 08:05 AM