Charlotte Diocese to Decide Priest's Fate

Associated Press, carried in Charlotte Observer [Salisbury NC]
November 4, 2004

SALISBURY, N.C. - The Catholic Diocese of Charlotte's Lay Review Board soon will determine whether to take action against a priest who pleaded no contest to contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

The incident occurred while Richard Farwell was serving Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Salisbury.

The board will review the case, then make a confidential recommendation to Bishop Peter J. Jugis, who would have the final ruling, said David Hains, spokesman for the Catholic Diocese of Charlotte.

Farwell continues to be on administrative leave from the Diocese of Charlotte pending the board's decision, but he cannot present himself in public as a priest, Hains said.

Farwell, who now lives in Florida, was originally charged in 2002 with two counts of taking indecent liberties with two boys while he was worked at Sacred Heart in 1983 and 1984.

Farwell pleaded no contest Tuesday in Rowan County Superior Court to one count of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, a misdemeanor.

The no contest plea meant that he would not contest the charge but did not admit guilt, and Farwell continues to maintain his innocence.

The original charge was reduced as part of a plea agreement with District Attorney Bill Kenerly's office. The second charge was dismissed.

Superior Court Judge Erwin Spainhour sentenced Farwell to 180 days of probation, and he must undergo psychiatric counseling, pay a $1,000 fine and complete 100 hours of community service work.


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