|Victims Speak out against Abusive Montgomery Priest
By Freeman Klopott
May 16, 2008
Montgomery County (Map, News) - Victims of a Montgomery County Catholic deacon who was sentenced to 20 years in prison for sexual abuse Thursday said he abused his roles as a father and church leader.
"Dan Stallings is liar. He lied to his wife for 40 years about what a terrible person he was. He lied to his stepdaughter that she keep their relationship a secret to show respect for his love. He lied to me when he told me our relationship was special and something that made God smile," one of the victims told Montgomery County Circuit Court Judge Michael Pincus before Pincus sentenced Stallings, 72.
That victim, who was joined by another and several of their family members, had grown up in Stallings' church, St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church in Silver Spring. She trusted and respected him enough to select him as her confirmation sponsor, her parents said in court.
But that was before Stallings took advantage of her, making her another victim in his more than 40-year span of abuse.
In March, Stallings pleaded guilty to five counts of incest and one count of fourth-degree sexual assault.
His first known victim was his stepdaughter, whom he started to abuse when she was 5 years old, and by the time she was in eighth grade, "had no light in her eyes anymore," Donna Fenton, an assistant state's attorney, said in her argument for sending Stallings to jail for the maximum 20 years.
Defense attorney Thomas DeGonia said Stallings was filled with remorse and seeking help for his sexual affliction in his argument that Stallings spend several years on probation instead of getting prison time.
"The only way the wounds he has inflicted are going to heal is through reconciliation with his family, and that won't happen if he dies in prison," he said.
DeGonia read from a conversation between Stallings and one of the victims that police taped about a month before his December arrest.
"I can't make it up to you," Stallings said. "I didn't give you mercy and yet I am asking for mercy."
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