OREGON: Archdiocese Of Portland Offers Defense Loan To Child-Molesting Priest
My San Antonio reports:
The Archdiocese of Portland has offered an open-ended loan to the Rev. Angel Armando Perez to cover legal fees as he fights an accusation that he fondled a 12-year-old boy. As first reported by the Oregonian, Archbishop John G. Vlazny approved the loan to Perez this week, Archdiocese of Portland spokesman Bud Bunce said Friday. Police said Perez chased a 12-year-old boy down a Woodburn street early Monday while dressed only in his underwear. “It’s available if he needs it,” Bunce said of the loan. Bunce said he didn’t have details on the loan or how it would work. Parishioners in Woodburn have also begun to raise money for Perez’s defense, he said. The Salem boy told investigators he ran from Perez’s church-owned house, with Perez chasing after him. The boy said a nearby bystander gave him a ride to the boy’s sister’s house early Monday. The 46-year-old parish priest at St. Luke Catholic Church made an initial appearance Tuesday in Marion County Circuit Court on accusations of sexual abuse, abuse of a child in the display of sexually explicit conduct, furnishing alcohol to a minor and driving under the influence. Police said the boy told them the priest gave him a beer and he drank about half of it and Perez also fondled him. Court documents filed after Perez’s arrest say the boy awoke to flashes and thinks the priest was taking cellphone photos of him. Detectives wrote in their affidavit that the priest, a native of Mexico who has permanent legal residency in the U.S., told them he drank too much at a community event and doesn’t remember what happened after he and the boy watched a movie. David Clohessy, director of the Survivor Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, said the church will cover the cost of defense for priests “in the overwhelming majority of cases,” but it’s usually not called a loan. “I don’t think they’ve ever called it a loan and, frankly, we think that’s pretty disingenuous,” Clohessy said. “On a priest’s salary, there’s virtually no chance that it’ll ever be repaid, especially if he’s found guilty.” The Archdiocese of Portland was the first in the nation to declare bankruptcy in 2004, just hours before two civil trials on sex abuse allegations were set to begin. The diocese emerged from bankruptcy in 2007 with a $50 million settlement of more than 175 claims. Another $20 million was set aside to handle future claims. The offer to cover Perez’s defense costs was likely a strategic move, Clohessy said. “We suspect the goal here is to intimidate others who were hurt by Father Perez or other clerics into staying silent or settling quietly,” Clohessy said. “The signal he’s sending is, ‘Don’t think this is going to be easy.’” Perez has hired prominent Portland attorney Marc Blackman, who has handled a number of high-profile cases. Blackman did not immediately return a call on Friday morning. He declined to comment to the Oregonian.
OREGON: Catholic Priest In His Underwear Chases Boy Down Street After Abuse
Oregon Live (The Oregonian) reports:
It was close to midnight Sunday when Woodburn resident James Curths saw the 12-year-old boy running down the street toward him. Curths said the child, panting and out of breath, begged for help, telling him a man was chasing him. Moments later, a man rounded the corner wearing only underwear. He stood a short distance away, trying to wave the boy over as Curths and his sister-in-law prepared to drive the boy to relatives. “He was staring at us,” said Heather Rodriguez, 28, Curths’ sister-in-law, who was also outside. “Then he stood there with his hands on his hips like, ‘You’re really not going to give him to me?’” Rodriguez and Curths, 35, told the man they were calling the police. Only then, they said, did the man jog away. The man who chased after the boy that night, Woodburn police say, was the Rev. Angel Armando Perez, the parish priest at St. Luke Catholic Church in Woodburn. Early Monday, the boy gave police a detailed account of the alleged sex abuse he said occurred at Perez’s home, leading to Perez’s arrest later Monday. Court records released Tuesday detail the alleged abuse and the pastor’s actions after the incident. “Father Angel touched me” Perez was arraigned in Marion County Circuit Court on Tuesday, appearing via video from Marion County Jail, wearing a black V-neck top with his hands secured in front of his waist. He faced allegations of first-degree sexual abuse, abuse of a child in the display of sexually explicit conduct, furnishing alcohol to a minor and driving under the influence of intoxicants. The Salem boy told authorities that Perez had asked his parents a few days earlier if he could take him on a trip to the mountains. He and his family attended a community church event Sunday night, and the 12-year-old went with Perez that night to the pastor’s house, a grayish-green home less than 200 paces from the church’s front door. The boy told police Perez gave him a beer and they watched a movie. The boy told investigators that an air mattress was set up on the living room floor for him to sleep on. He said he fell asleep on the mattress, the affidavit said. Later, the boy said, he was “woken up by a couple of flashes.” He said that when he opened his eyes, he saw Perez next to the air mattress, with one hand on the boy’s genitals and one hand holding a cellphone. The boy discovered his underwear and shorts lowered to his knees, while Perez was dressed in underwear and a T-shirt, the boy told police. The boy said he went to pack up his things when Perez went upstairs. “Father Angel called to him saying, ‘Come back to bed,’” the police affidavit says. Instead, the boy said goodbye and ran off. Curths, who was hosting a barbecue when the boy showed up outside his house, said he looked distraught. “He just seemed really terrified, and he was almost in tears,” Curths said. When the pastor caught up to the boy outside Curths’ house, wearing what Curths and his sister-in-law said looked like a burgundy Speedo swimsuit, the boy hid behind Curths. “He was scared to death,” Curths said. “It was like someone running from a ghost.” Curths said the boy told him that the man had “touched his privates.” Curths drove the boy to his sister’s house, where the boy told his sister what had happened, the affidavit said. According to the affidavit, the boy told her, “Father Angel touched me in my privates.” He was shaking and appeared scared, the sister told authorities. The boy’s sister alerted her mother, and his father drove to pick up the boy. “I made a mistake” Meanwhile, according to the affidavit, Perez had driven to the boy’s home in Salem to talk to the boy’s mother and brother about 2 a.m. Monday. Perez had a strong odor of alcohol and appeared intoxicated, the brother of the alleged victim told police. The brother told police that Perez’s first statement was, “I am very sorry; I made a mistake.” Perez continued to ask forgiveness, and added, “I didn’t mean to hurt” the child, the boy’s brother told police. “I am just one who serves in the church, and I have sinned; don’t stop believing in the church,” Perez reportedly told the victim’s brother, according to the affidavit. Perez also offered to let the boy’s mother and brother check his phone, saying, “You won’t find anything,” the affidavit said. The relatives asked Perez to leave the house. “This is the last time you will see me,” Perez said before leaving, the brother told police. On Monday, Woodburn detectives interviewed Perez at the Woodburn Police Department. Perez told them he drank too much at the community event. He said he and the boy were given a ride back to his Woodburn home. There, Perez said, he drank another beer, and they watched a movie, the affidavit said. He told police “at some point he blacked out and doesn’t remember what happened,” the affidavit said. Perez told Woodburn Detective Sgt. Nick Wilson that he remembered going upstairs and brushing his teeth, and when he came downstairs, he recalled a look of “disappointment and anger” on the boy’s face, the affidavit said.
Perez, the affidavit said, admitted he drove intoxicated to the boy’s home to apologize and find out what happened. He said he dropped to his knees and begged for forgiveness.
“As far as we have come, which as been significant, we don’t yet have the kind of consensus that would indicate a reasonable expectation of success,” said Jeana Frazzini, executive director.
Oregonians now appear about evenly divided on a proposed ballot initiative to legalize gay marriage and to overturn the constitutional ban against same-sex marriage approved by voters in 2004, Frazzini said.
The weak economy and high rates of unemployment and home foreclosures also create a tough climate for a political campaign over a social issue, she said.
Basic Rights members favor waiting at least until the next opportunity for an initiative ballot in 2014 before plunging into a politically difficult campaign that would cost $5 million to $10 million, she said.
National polls last spring showed support for same-sex marriage, which has climbed for the last seven years, hit the majority milestone. An ABC News/Washington Post poll in March and a Gallup Poll in May showed 53 percent of Americans in support. A Public Policy Polling survey of Oregon voters in June, however, found that 48 percent of voters support same-sex marriage. Basic Rights members want to see more support before they go to the ballot.
“There is just too much at stake here,” Frazzini said. “Folks are up for the challenge but want to have a sense that it is winnable.”
More than 3,000 gay and lesbian couples in Oregon have entered domestic partnerships, which were legalized by the Legislature in 2007. The partnerships give couples most of the benefits of marriage. But couples say they also make them feel like second-class citizens because the civil unions do not convey the same status and respect conferred by marriage.
A lesbian restaurant owner from Milwaukie, Ore., says recent acts of vandalism on her establishment may be the result of antigay bias.
The Oregonian reports that two concrete blocks were thrown through the windows of DaVinci’s Ristorante Italiano and the building’s power was cut sometime late Saturday night or early Sunday morning.
Deputy Marcus Mendoza of the Clackamas County Sheriff’s office said the events occurred after a confrontation between the restaurant’s owner, Heather Molatore, and a potential customer.
According to Molatore, a man who had been waiting five minutes for a table stormed out after reading an article posted on the wall about Molatore and her partner, Felicia. As he left, the man reportedly said, “You girls have fun with your little restaurant” and slammed the front door so hard that a picture fell from the wall.
Molatore, who was informed the next morning while attending church that the restaurant had been vandalized, suspects the two incidents might be related.
“We have a lot of support from our church, our friends and family,” she said. “It’s really good to know so many people care about us and that there was just one jerk who had to do something.”
The man is described as being in his mid-50s, between 5-foot-10 and 5-foot-11, about 170 pounds, with gray hair, balding in front.
OREGON: Two Gay Portland Men Beaten For Holding Hands
Portland, Oregon police are investigating a possible hate crime after two gay men were beaten after being seen walking hand-in-hand. One of the victims reports: “I left [the ER] with 9 stitches in my lips, two black eyes, a dislodged jaw, some loose teeth, severe swelling where they hit me on my cheek, and scrapes and bruises on my head.”
Detectives say Brad Forkner and Christopher Rosevear were walking hand-in-hand Sunday evening in Waterfront Park and then headed over the Hawthorne Bridge. As the pair walked, police say, they noticed several men behind them who were talking, laughing and pointing, but they weren’t sure if it was directed at them. Police say the attack happened as Forkner and Rosevear walked from the bridge to the trail toward the East Bank Esplanade. The pair told officers the men pushed and punched Forkner before he managed to break away and call 911. Police say the attackers hit Rosevear in the head, face, back and ribs before running off. ”It’s too bad that people are still walking around a city like Portland feeling, well, actually unsafe,” says Paul Fukui, the operations manager of the Q-Center, which advocates for the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered community.
According to the above-linked news story, several witnesses observed the attack but did nothing to help. The three assailants are described as white men in their 20s.
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