Port Angeles Priest Faces Indecent Liberties Counts

Associated Press, carried in The Oregonian
May 4, 1988

A Roman Catholic priest has been charged with five felony counts of indecent liberties involving young boys, a prosecutor said.

The charges against the Rev. Paul J. Conn, a former assistant pastor at Queen of Angels parish here, were filed Monday in Clallam County Superior Court, Clallam County Prosecutor David Bruneau said.

Bruneau said Conn, 36, is charged with having sexual contact with five boys under the age of 14 between 1987 and one month ago. Some, but not all, of the five were altar boys, youths who assist priests at church services, Bruneau said.

Police were continuing their investigation, he said, but declined to specify whether he expected additional charges.

If convicted, Conn faces a maximum of 10 years in prison on each count.

His first court appearance will be Friday afternoon, at which time he might enter a plea, Bruneau said.

The case was brought to the attention of authorities and the Catholic Archdiocese of Seattle by at least two parents and the head priest in the parish, Bruneau said. The parents initially contacted the head priest, he said.

The Seattle archdiocese is responsible for assigning priests to Catholic parishes in the area.

Conn was removed from the parish and his duties suspended as soon as the issue was brought to the attention of the archdiocese, according to a statement issued Monday by Archbishop Raymond G. Hunthausen in Seattle.

Conn was told by the church to seek independent legal counsel, and families of the boys have been offered counseling, the statement said.

Conn was born in Longview. He served in the Air Force and studied at Lower Columbia College and Seattle University.


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