February 10, 2006

Both sides agree ex-priest a molester

Monterey County Herald

Associated Press

LOS ANGELES - In an unusual twist, a prosecutor and defense attorney agreed in their closing arguments that a retired priest on trial for molestation was a sexual predator who wrecked many lives decades ago.
But the defense lawyer said Michael Wempe should be acquitted even if jurors hate him because he did not commit the crimes with which he is charged in the current case.
The prosecutor said, ''It's time for the defendant to pay for his sins.''
Deputy District Attorney Todd Hicks portrayed Wempe as an unrepentant molester who went back to his old ways even after he returned from a church treatment program. Hicks compared him to a ferocious lion in the jungle waiting to consume weaker prey.
Wempe's attorney, Leonard Levine, said that while jurors may feel the passions of victims who want Wempe jailed for his past crimes, ''there is a principle here that is bigger."

Posted by kshaw at February 10, 2006 07:52 AM