Ex-Guernsey Priest Accused of Abuse

Associated Press, carried in Billings Gazette
April 23, 2005

CHEYENNE - A Platte County man is suing the Roman Catholic Diocese of Cheyenne, a church in Guernsey and the town's former priest, whom the plaintiff claims sexually abused him as a teen.

Theodore Carr filed suit in state District Court of Laramie County last month. He claims the abuse occurred between 1980 and 1988 when he was a teenage parishioner at St. Anthony Catholic Church in Guernsey, where Anthony Jablonowski - who is now in prison - was priest.

The diocese, which hasn't yet filed an answer to the complaint, has hired Cheyenne attorney Paul Hickey to represent its interests. Father Michael Carr, of Casper, who isn't related to the plaintiff, said the church is willing to listen to the man's story.

"In terms of Ted's concerns, and helping him with his life and what happened, we have concerns for him," Carr said Thursday, "but I guess it's in the hands of lawyers."

Theodore Carr has asked for a jury trial, but the complaint doesn't address compensation.

The suit names the diocese and the Guernsey church because the plaintiff believes church leaders knew or should have known Jablonowski was a threat to children, according to the complaint.

Last year, Jablonowski pleaded no contest to taking indecent, immodest or immoral liberties with a minor and was sentenced to 15 months to seven years in prison. He remains incarcerated at the Wyoming Honor Farm in Riverton.

The earlier case involved accusations that Jablonowski molested a 17-year-old boy in the 1980s, when he was the priest in Guernsey.

That victim isn't Theodore Carr, according to Platte County Attorney Eric Alden.

During last year's investigation, Jablonowski admitted practicing unorthodox religious rituals not sanctioned by the church, according to Alden. Those practices included leading prayers while adult male parishioners were hung upside-down, naked, in the church basement and whipped.

The victim in the earlier case did not take part in the rituals, Alden said. Instead, the allegation was that the priest molested the boy in the rectory when he came to seek counseling about being gay.

Jablonowski served as a priest in Wyoming for about 10 years, according to the diocese.

He was living and working in Ohio when the criminal allegation was lodged.

The latest complaint alleges that Jablonowski justified sexual encounters with Theodore Carr by saying the conduct was "to provide counseling and closeness to God."

But by letting Jablonowski wear a priest's collar, the diocese led parishioners to believe they could trust the man it failed to supervise appropriately, the plaintiff's attorney, Deborah Mincer wrote.


Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.
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