|Brother Vic Hasn't Registered As a Sex Offender
By Susan Daker
August 10, 2007
Missouri — Nicholas Paul "Brother Vic" Bendillo, a former counselor and teacher at McGill-Toolen Catholic High School, has failed to register as a convicted sex offender after he was released from an Alabama prison, authorities said.
As a condition of his release, Bendillo provided prison officials with the address of a monastery in Missouri, and the local law enforcement agency there said he had not registered by Thursday morning. Under Missouri law, he should have been registered by Tuesday.
A man identifying himself as a priest answered the telephone at the monastery about 12:30 p.m. Thursday. When asked about "Brother Vic," he said he didn't know of anyone by that name. When asked if Brother Vic Bendillo was there, he said again, he didn't know.
When a Press-Register reporter asked for the priest's name, the man hung up.
When the reporter called back, the man answered but then transferred her to the answering machine.
The monastery is home to other religious men convicted of sexual abuse, and typically they are good about registering, said Dawn Davison of the Jefferson County (Mo.) Sheriff's Office.
"It's weird that they haven't brought him in here," Davison said. Alabama officials have yet to notify Jefferson County that Bendillo was moving to the county, which is what is normally done, Davison.
"You can see how easily that these people can fall through the cracks," Davison said.
Davison said Thursday morning that she would call Vianney Renewal Center, operated by the Servants of the Paraclete, and tell them to have Bendillo register immediately.
The center, located about 30 miles from metropolitan St. Louis, treats priests and brothers for afflictions including alcoholism, and provides supervision to those registered as sex offenders, according to the center's Web site.
Donald Briskman, Bendillo's attorney, said that it was his understanding that his client is "in the process of scheduling an appointment with the sheriff in the county in which he is residing."
When told a priest said that Bendillo was not at the monastery, Briskman replied, "I don't know what their policy is."
Sex offenders are required to register within 10 days of being released from prison under Missouri law, Davison said.
The 78-year-old member of the Brothers of the Sacred Heart was released July 28 from the Hamilton Aged and Infirmed Center, which houses minimum- and medium-security inmates in the northwest Alabama town of Hamilton.
Bendillo was sentenced to five years in prison on multiple charges of enticing a child and sexual abuse. He ended up serving about half — 28 months — after he received credit for good behavior, an Alabama prison spokesman said.
Brian Corbett, the prison spokesman, said that Bendillo provided the monastery address, as required, 45 days before being released from prison.
Corbett said that the Alabama Department of Public Safety is in charge of notifying law enforcement agencies about where sex offenders intend to live.
Sandra Johnson, who works with the sex offender registry at the Department of Public Safety, said that the prison system had not sent them any information about Bendillo.
Johnson said later that she tracked down the information and has updated the state Web site and will send out letters to Jefferson County.
By Thursday afternoon, Bendillo's address had been posted on the department's Web site, www.dps.state.al.us.
Bendillo was convicted in February 2004 of one count of enticing a child for immoral purposes and one count of second-degree sex abuse. He was sentenced to five years in the first case and one year in the second, but the judge ordered that the terms be served concurrently.
Bendillo later pleaded guilty to eight more charges — four counts of enticing a child and four counts of second-degree sex abuse.
A civil lawsuit brought by two former McGill-Toolen students against Bendillo, the Archdiocese of Mobile and the Brothers of the Sacred Heart was settled in 2004 for an undisclosed sum. The two male students claimed that Bendillo abused them in the early 1990s.
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