Submitted by Melanie Jula Sakoda
Four Monks Plead Not Guilty To Sexual Assault Of Child
Johnson City -- Three monks pleaded not guilty in court Monday to
charges of sexual assault of a child and organized criminal activity
at a Hill Country monastery.
The monks were charged last week after a raid at the Christ of the
Hills Monastery, near Blanco. Blanco County District Attorney Sam
Oatman says the raid was to search for what he called "instruments
of child abuse."
The indictments relate to one boy allegedly assaulted while a teen,
starting in 1993.
The monastery's founder Samuel Greene is free on his own
recognizance due to health problems. Oatman says Greene waived his
right to an arraignment and didn't appear in court Monday in Johnson
City, but he also pleaded not guilty.
A fifth man, 45-year-old Jonathan Hitt, already is serving a 10-year
prison sentence for a 1999 conviction for indecency with a 14-year-
old novice monk studying at the monastery in 1997. Oatman said Hitt
hasn't entered a plea on the new charges.
The Blanco County sheriff says he believes there are other victims
molested and abused by these monks.
KXAN has learned that you can expect another one to come forward
this week and file a civil lawsuit.
His name is James Wright. He does not want to protect his identity.
In fact, he wants his name used.
Wright lives out of state and is not involved in the arrests made
He claims to be another victim who's suffered at the hands of these
monks and their alleged perversions.
Wright was 15-years-old at the time of the allegations. He was what
you call a novice at the monastery. In other words, a young boy
living a monastic life.
He claims he was molested at the monastery and at other locations..
His allegations uncover what appears to be a monastery set-up to
practice brainwashing, sexual abuse, drugs and alcohol.
"First there was alcohol and marijuana, and it evolved to these
sexual relationships and as far as James is concerned, he was told
that his way to spirituality would be through this sexuality, it was
brainwashing," plaintiff attorney Mark Long said.
The civil suit will name three of the monks. It also names as
defendants, the Russian Orthodox Church and the Christ of the Hills
It's expected to filed later this week.