January 28, 2006

Accuser Says Priest Twice Molested Him in Cedars-Sinai Office

Los Angeles Times

By Jean Guccione, Times Staff Writer

The 26-year-old man at the center of retired priest Michael Wempe's sexual abuse trial testified Friday that Wempe fondled him in the early 1990s, several years after the priest had been treated for pedophilia and Cardinal Roger M. Mahony had returned him to the ministry.

The man, identified in court as Jayson B., said Wempe molested him twice when he was 11 and 12 as he sat on the priest's lap using a computer in Wempe's office at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, where Wempe was a chaplain.

"He at first had a hand on my waist, and eventually moved it to my crotch area," Jayson B. testified, fighting back tears as he spoke for much of his two hours on the stand. "Eventually, he moved his hand from the outside of my pants to underneath and had his hand on my crotch underneath my shorts."

Wempe, 66, faces 16 years in prison if convicted of lewd conduct and oral copulation with Jayson B. He has admitted through his lawyer that he molested Jayson's two older brothers and 11 other boys in the 1970s and 1980s, but has denied sexually abusing Jayson.

Posted by kshaw at January 28, 2006 07:21 AM