January 31, 2006

Witness testifies against priest through tears

Monterey County Herald

Associated Press

LOS ANGELES - A man who claims he was sexually abused by a priest in the 1990s cried for most of three hours on the witness stand Monday, declaring at one point, ''I didn't want anyone to know about this.''
The 26-year-old witness, identified as Jayson B., described five instances of sexual abuse he said Michael Wempe subjected him to. He said they took place about a year apart, once at Wempe's office at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and other times in parking garages in Wempe's car.
He said he didn't tell anyone what had happened, adding Wempe's long-standing relationship with his family made him a figure of trust.
''It was Father Mike. It was difficult to think anything he could do was wrong,'' he testified during his second day on the witness stand.
Wempe has admitted molesting 13 other boys in the 1970s and '80s, including Jayson's two brothers, but cannot be tried in those cases because the statute of limitations has expired. He has denied molesting Jayson B., however, and his lawyers say the man fabricated the charges in an effort to seek vengeance for his brothers.

Posted by kshaw at January 31, 2006 08:01 AM