Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Monastery, group settle sex suit for $1 million

Expand Messages
  • Melanie Jula Sakoda
    Submitted by Melanie Jula Sakoda http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/metro/stories/MYSA053107.1A.monks.set tlement.367b0f2.html Express-News Monastery, group
    Message 1 of 1 , May 31, 2007
    • 0 Attachment
      Submitted by Melanie Jula Sakoda

      http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/metro/stories/MYSA053107.1A.monks.set
      tlement.367b0f2.html

      Express-News

      Monastery, group settle sex suit for $1 million

      05/30/2007

      Zeke MacCormack
      Express-News

      JOHNSON CITY — A former novice monk who claimed he was molested in
      the late 1990s at the Christ of the Hills Monastery outside Blanco
      will get $1 million in a settlement filed Wednesday.
      The agreement resolves a 2006 civil suit in which James B. Wright Jr.
      accused the monastery's founder, Sam A. Greene Jr., and Greene
      followers William Hughes and Walter Christley of abuse.

      Criminal charges remain against those three monks and two other
      followers of Greene, and the state is trying to seize the 105-acre
      site.

      Wright, who lives in the Houston area, also had sued the Synod of
      Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, which in
      1991 admitted Greene's group as clergy but severed ties in 1999.

      Wright reached a confidential settlement with the New York-based
      religious group in December, according to its attorney, Lin Hughes of
      Austin, who said Greene duped her clients into affiliating with his
      monastery.

      In the judgment entered Wednesday, State District Judge Dan Mills
      ordered that Wright recover $1 million from the monastery and
      Ecumenical Monks Inc., the nonprofit group that runs the monastery.

      There is no indication in the judge's order about where the money
      will come from.

      Wright's attorney, Mark Long, couldn't be reached for comment.

      When the suit was filed last year, Long said the monastery appeared
      to be "a place set up to scam people and for some of the monks to
      recruit young people to molest. It's horrible."

      No trial date has been set for the monks jailed last July when
      authorities raided the monastery and seized its famed weeping icon, a
      painting said to cry but later acknowledged to be a fake.

      The arrests marked the second round of civil and criminal proceedings
      for alleged sexual abuse at the monastery.

      In 2000, Greene pled guilty to indecency with a novice monk and was
      sentenced to 10 years probation. The victim later won about $1
      million in a civil suit.

      The latest criminal charges stem from statements Greene reportedly
      made to his probation officer that implicated him and some of his
      followers in sexual misconduct.

      Indictments were returned last July on charges of sexual assault of a
      child/organized crime against Greene, who's known as "Father
      Benedict," Hugh Fallon, Jonathan Hitt; Christley and Hughes.

      Greene also was charged with sexual performance by a child.

      In January, more charges were brought against Greene, Christley and
      Hughes based on the complaints by Wright.

      Christley was indicted on charges of sexual assault of a child and
      sexual assault of a child/organized crime over alleged incidents from
      Dec. 1, 1998. Hughes and Greene were indicted on charges of sexual
      assault of a child/organized crime for the same alleged incident.

      All of the defendants have pleaded not guilty and are free on bond,
      except Hitt, who was sentenced to 10 years in prison in 1999 after he
      was convicted of indecency with the same youth who's complaint put
      Greene on probation.

      Neither Greene nor his attorneys could be reached for comment.

      ----------------------------------------------------------------------
      zeke@...
    Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.