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  Priest Gets 6 Months in Jail Educator Sentenced in Online Sex-Chat Case

By Bill Romano
San Jose Mercury News
November 22, 2000

A prominent Bay Area Roman Catholic priest and educator has been sentenced in Santa Clara County Superior Court to a six-month jail term and three years' probation for conducting sexual conversations in an online chat room with a person he thought was a minor.

The minor was actually an undercover officer with the San Jose Police Department's Child Exploitation Detail.

The Rev. Carl Schipper, 58, pleaded no contest in August to five counts of attempting to distribute or exhibit harmful matter by electronic mail, according to Deputy District Attorney James Sibley.

Currently on leave from his pastoral duties, Schipper was dean of studies at St. Patrick's Seminary in Menlo Park when he was arrested in March. He was relieved of those duties immediately after his arrest.

He also was once principal of Serra High School in San Mateo and superintendent for Catholic Schools in the Archdiocese of San Francisco.

Schipper had nothing to say when he appeared in court Tuesday for sentencing, but in remarks in a probation report the veteran cleric expressed remorse and accepted responsibility for his actions.

"I'm truly embarrassed by what I have done. I am deeply ashamed of betraying the trust placed in me by my family, friends, church authorities, colleagues, students and parishioners," said Schipper. "Hopefully, in the days ahead, I can begin to make amends to some of them."

The investigation began when a 13-year-old boy was reported molested. During a medical examination, medical personnel noticed a screen name written in pen on his hand, according to Sibley.

Although Schipper was not a suspect in the molestation case, undercover police officers entered the Internet chat room posing as a 13-year-old boy and made contact with Schipper, said Sibley.

"He engaged them in sexual conversations," said Sibley.

In imposing sentence, Judge Edgar Taylor stayed the jail term until Jan. 22 while a study is made to determine Schipper's qualification for a work furlough program instead. Among the conditions of probation, he was ordered to obtain psychological treatment, refrain from employment or volunteer work that involves supervision of children younger than 18, and to register as a sex offender.

 
 

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