Priest Facing Abuse Charges

By Edward C. Fennell
Post and Courier (Charleston, SC)
July 11, 1996

A recently retired local priest has been indicted on four charges he sexually molested two boys and exposed them to alcohol and pornography.

The Rev. Eugene L. Condon, who resigned in June as pastor of North Charleston's St. John's Roman Catholic Church, was indicted on a charge of assault of a high and aggravated nature and three counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

In other action this week, a grand jury indicted Lance E. Falkowski of the Isle of Palms on two counts of causing death while operating a boat under the influence of alcohol. Falkowski earlier had been charged with the same offenses, in connection with the April 20 boating accident that killed his wife, Wesley F. Falkowski, 26, and their friend, Yolanda L. Rampone, 27, of Wadmalaw Island.

After the indictments were announced, bail for Condon was set Wednesday at $ 15,000 in Charleston County General Sessions Court. Condon immediately posted bail and was released.

Condon had not been charged previously with any offenses. The FBI for months investigated allegations against the 66-year-old priest, and found no evidence that federal laws had been violated.

The case was turned over to local authorities, and the FBI participated in presenting the case to the grand jury, 9th Circuit Assistant Solicitor Debbie Herring-Lash said Wednesday.

No trial date has been set, Herring-Lash said.

The indictments do not name the alleged victims but give their birthdates.

Alleged in the indictments is that between May 1975 and December 1976, a young man who was born on the last day of 1958 was sexually assaulted, and was given alcohol and pornographic magazines; and that between 1971 and 1973, a young man born in 1956 was given alcohol and was the victim of an attempted sexual assault.

On June 18, Condon resigned from the St. John's Catholic Church post he had held for nearly five years. He asked for and was granted early retirement.

That same day, the solicitor's office told the Diocese it was investigating allegations that Condon had engaged in sexual improprieties with a minor.

Two more alleged victims came forward during the investigations, Herring-Lash said.

Condon has been a priest for 40 years. He was pastor at Stella Maris on Sullivan's Island from 1971-77. Subsequently, he served two years as associate pastor at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist on Broad Street. Other posts include: pastor of St. Peter in Beaufort and Holy Cross on St. Helena Island, 1979-85; and pastor of Sacred Heart on King Street, 1985-91.


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