|Evans Makes Headlines in '07
Former Priest Convicted of Sex Abuse in March
By Sara Reed
December 24, 2007
It took slightly more than 18 months, but 2007 saw the conclusion of the only Catholic Church sex abuse case to hit the city.
On March 26, Timothy Joseph Evans was convicted by a jury of molesting a teenage parishioner during his tenure from 1998 to 2002 at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton.
Two months later, District Court Judge Jolene Blair blasted Evans for his actions, telling him he sullied the names of dedicated clergy and fed the distrust of organized religion before sentencing him to at least 14 years in prison.
Evans never apologized for his behavior but did address it during his sentencing.
"I may love recklessly and foolishly," he said during his May 30 sentencing. "But I love unconditionally."
Nick Gerber, the young man Evans was convicted of fondling, said during that hearing that Evans was a "master manipulator" and a menace to society. The Coloradoan does not normally identify victims of sexual assault, but Gerber has consented to having his name printed.
The lengthy sentence gave Gerber some sense of comfort.
Following Evans' conviction, some parishioners voiced concerns that it would create a rift within the congregation, something parishioners say they haven't seen.
Ray Sons, a member of the church for the past 15 years, said he hasn't discussed the topic with others at the church, but he hasn't seen any difference in the congregation.
There was sadness following the conviction, and Sons said he still feels sorry for both Evans and his victims.
"But the church moves on," Sons said.
The Rev. Lawrence Christensen, the lead pastor and administrator at the church, did not return a message left at his office last week.
Even if Evans is released at the end of the 14-year sentence, he will have to serve at least four more years for a Jefferson County conviction on similar charges. That conviction came less than two weeks after the Larimer County jury handed down its verdict.
Gerber is also suing Evans and the Archdiocese of Denver for negligence. The case, filed in Denver County District Court, is set to go to trial in June.
Any original material on these pages is copyright © BishopAccountability.org 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.