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SNAP of Tennessee

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests - Tennessee 

William Casey Arrested On Sullivan Co. Charges Linked To Alleged Abuse

Published: 1:18 AM, 09/04/2010 Last updated: 1:22 AM, 09/04/2010
 


Source: The Greeneville Sun

BY JOHN M. JONES JR.

EDITOR

Former Roman Catholic priest William C. "Bill" Casey, of Greene County, was arrested here Friday afternoon and temporarily jailed in Sullivan County on charges related to alleged sexual abuse of a young man in that county some 30 years ago.

Casey, 76, was indicted by a Sullivan County grand jury earlier this week on one count of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and two counts of aggravated rape, according to Barry Staubus, Sullivan County assistant district attorney.

Those state laws relate to actions in which the alleged victim of an offense was a minor child, Staubus said in an interview late Friday afternoon.

He said that Sullivan County authorities are alleging that the actions for which Casey has been charged took place between 1978 and 1980, when he was pastor of St. Dominic's Catholic Church in Kingsport.

The alleged victim of the abuse was Warren Tucker, who is now in his mid-40s and lives in Jeffersonville, Ind.

In early April and since then, Tucker has charged in public statements and statements to law enforcement authorities that Casey sexually molested him numerous times in various locations, including Sullivan County.

Many of the other alleged incidents of abuse occurred in Greene County, according to Tucker, and a few others in Scott County and Lee County, Va., and McDowell County, N.C.

Tucker has stated that the abuse occurred during a period of five years from 1975 to 1980, when he was between 10 and 15 years old and a young member of the congregation of St. Dominic's Church.

WIDELY KNOWN HERE

Casey was the popular and respected pastor of Notre Dame Catholic Church in Greeneville in the early 1970s.

After serving churches in various locations in succeeding years, he retired from ministry in 1999, and has lived here on a full-time basis since that time.

He has continued to preside occasionally at services at Notre Dame and other Catholic churches in the Diocese of Knoxville when needed.

In addition, he is widely known locally and, until Tucker's charges surfaced in April, had taken an active role in various community organizations including the Greeneville-Greene County Community Ministries Food Bank.

BAIL SET AT $100,000

Asst. Dist. Atty. Staubus said that the investigation into Tucker's charges related to alleged abusive actions in Sullivan County was conducted by the Kingsport Police Department.

Staubus said that Casey was taken into custody at his residence here in Greene County by a Kingsport police officer, possibly with other officers present.

The former priest was transported to the Sullivan County Detention Center and placed in jail, with bond set at $100,000.

A Detention Center spokesman said shortly before 8 p.m. that he had been released on the bond.

No date for an initial court appearance has been set as of this time, Staubus said Friday, but a court date is expected to be set by Tuesday.

The office of the Sullivan County Criminal Court Clerk is closed for the Labor Day holiday until Tuesday morning, he explained.

Some Sullivan County law enforcement authorities had speculated earlier this year that, under Tennessee law, the statutes of limitations had expired on the types of alleged actions for which Casey might be charged.

Asked about that possibility on Friday afternoon, Staubus said that, after research by the district attorney's office, officials there believe that Casey could still be legally charged on the laws under which he has been indicted.

OTHER LOCATIONS

The action by Sullivan County authorities marks the third time in three months that the former priest has faced charges relating to his allged actions toward Tucker some three decades ago.

On July 28, he pleaded "Guilty" in McDowell County, N.C., to the charge of committing "a crime against nature" toward Tucker.

He was sentenced to three years of imprisonment with two years of supervised probation, plus a $500 fine and certain costs, but the jail sentence was suspended by the court, with restrictions.

Casey did not speak at the North Carolina proceeding.

However, through his attorney, Casey stated in court that he had been deeply moved at the impact of his actions toward Tucker and was truly sorry for the pain he had caused him.

He asked Tucker's forgiveness and said he hoped that Tucker could heal.

Less than a week later, on Aug. 2, a grand jury in Scott County, Va., indicted Casey on felony charges of having carnal knowledge of a child under 14 by force and taking indecent liberties with a child.

The actions for which he is charged are alleged to have occurred at Natural Tunnel State Park in Scott County between June 1, 1978, and Sept. 1, 1978.

He pleaded "Not Guilty" to those charges at his arraignment on Aug. 23 in Gate City, Va., and has been free on $5,000 bond, with home electronic monitoring and other restrictions.

A motion-and-plea day in the case was set for Nov. 22 in Gate City. A jury trial has been scheduled there for Jan. 26.

BACKGROUND

Tucker made his allegations against Casey public in Knoxville in April at the offices of the Catholic Diocese of Knoxville.

That same night, Casey acknowledged privately to the Bishop Richard F. Stika, leader of the Diocese of Knoxville, that Tucker's allegations had credibility, and said that there might be additional victims.

Bishop Stika immediately and permanently terminated Casey's ability to serve as a Catholic priest, either in the Diocese of Knoxville or anywhere else in the world, according to a diocesan news release at the time.

In a public statement the day after meeting with Casey, the bishop explained what Casey had told him, adding that the longtime priest had also stated that he had realized many years ago that his actions were wrong, and had stopped them; that he was ashamed of the actions; and that he had repented of them before God.

Bishop Stika condemned any abuse that might have occurred, thanked Tucker for coming forward to make the abuse public, apologized to him and his family that it had occurred at all, and urged any other victims of abuse to come forward.

So far as is publicly known, no other persons in the Diocese of Knoxville have identified themselves as abuse victims.

TUCKER'S STATEMENTS

Following the court proceeding in McDowell County, N.C., in late July, Tucker told The McDowell County News, a local newspaper there, that he still hopes that Casey will go to prison.

He noted that he has filed complaints against Casey with law enforcement officials in Scott County, Va., and Sullivan and Greene counties in Tennessee.

No charges have been brought against the former priest in Greene County as of this time.

After Casey was arraigned in Scott County on Aug. 23, the organization Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests of Tennessee (SNAP), which has been strongly supportive of Tucker, posted the following statement attributed to him on its Internet website:

"It is disappointing that Mr. Casey is more than willing to confess and plead guilty when he believes he faces no prison time. But when facing prison time he appears to have developed a case of amnesia.

"I had hoped that Casey would spare the court and law enforcement the time and trouble of trying him in a court of law.

"In either event I believe the justice system will now take its course and Mr. Casey will have to face the consequences."