|Church Deacon Charged Again with Child Sexual Abuse
By Agnes Jasinski
January 17, 2008
A deacon at a Silver Spring church charged in December with incest against a female relative has been charged with child sexual abuse in another case.
Dan Paul Stallings, 71, of the 10000 block of Woodland Drive in Silver Spring and a deacon at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church in Silver Spring since 1986, was charged Tuesday for an incident in 1998 involving a female who was 15 or 16 years old at the time, according to a news release from the Montgomery County Police Department.
The woman came forward last month after Stallings was charged Dec. 11 with 10 counts of incest against a female relative, police spokeswoman Lucille Baur said. The relative claimed she was abused more than 60 times between 1967 and 1973, according to charging documents filed in District Court. Stallings admitted to police he began abusing the relative when she was 12 years old, according to the documents.
Police say the second woman, a resident of Silver Spring, claims sexual contact occurred after she left a parish event outside the grounds of St. John the Evangelist Church with Stallings, who was a church deacon at the time.
Stallings was ordained as a deacon at St. John the Evangelist in 1986. Deacons assist priests in preaching and other parish services, and are ordained for life. They may be married or single. Stallings was married at the time he was ordained; his wife died last year.
Susan Gibbs, a spokeswoman for the Archdiocese of Washington, said Stallings has been barred from ministry with the church since last month. Gibbs said the church has not yet had the conversation as to whether to go through the laicization, or defrocking, process in this case. Laicization would legally strip Stallings of his ordained status with the church by order from the Vatican.
Gibbs said the Archdiocese of Washington's Child Protection Advisory Board will review the facts of the case and make further recommendations. The board, which reports to the archbishop, was created by the Archdiocese of Washington in 2002, and is called by the archdiocese when there are allegations of misconduct against ordained ministers.
The board is chaired by former Montgomery County Circuit Court Judge Dennis McHugh, and includes a former director of the Family Services Division of the Montgomery County Police Department and a pediatrician who specializes in forensic child abuse medical investigation and treatment.
"Because this did involve something that occurred during his ministry, and his role as a minister, this is just extra protection to make sure we looked at everything, and took all the necessary steps," Gibbs said. "Even without this review process, however, there are no thoughts that he will be returning to function as a deacon."
Stallings was released Tuesday from the Montgomery County Detention Center after posting a $20,000 property bond, according to a police news release.
Thomas DeGonia, an attorney representing Stallings with the Rockville office of Venable Law Firm, would not comment on the new charges. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Feb. 15, DeGonia said.
Baur said police are still looking for other possible victims. Stallings had been involved in several organizations with children, such as his church's Catholic Youth Organization.
Police are asking anyone with information to call Detective Katie Ellis Leggett of the Family Crimes Division of the Montgomery County Police Department at 240-773-5426.
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