April 05, 2006

John Day Residents Ponder Priest Scandal


By Teri Nelson and Associated Press

A former Houston priest accused of sexual abuse 25 years ago is now posted in John Day Oregon. It's a move that's prompted some to question whether this is a case where a rural community is getting a bad deal-- or a man is unfairly haunted by his past.

Rev. Richard Edelin, who was then 21-years-old, is accused of having an inappropriate relationship with a 17-year-parishioner who was then working in youth ministry at St. John Vianney Catholic Church in west Houston. The woman claimed the affair began with hugs and advance to groping in church offices, during confession and retreats. She said she declined an offer to go to his bedroom. Edelin has denied the allegation and church officials in Houston said their investigation could not substantiate the abuse claim.

David Bartish, a business owner in John Day, says he was immediately concerned when he read a headline about the priest's past.

"I kind of thought 'Uh, oh, what have we got coming? Are they putting him here in John Day to try to hide him?" Bartish told Local Two News. But after weighing the facts, Bartish says he thinks Edelin deserves the benefit of the doubt. "You know, child predators don't stop what they're doing-- and there's been no other allegation against that guy since then and so it kind of makes you wonder exactly what happened and the circumstances."

Posted by kshaw at April 5, 2006 07:04 AM