Priest Pleads Guilty to Molesting 6 Altar Boys

Associated Press, carried in The Oregonian
July 27, 1988

A Roman Catholic priest pleaded guilty Tuesday to molesting six altar boys while working at the Queen of Angels Church.

The Rev. Paul Jospeh Conn, 36, pleaded guilty to indecent liberties involving boys between the ages of 11 and 13.

Sentencing was set for Sept. 9 before Clallam County Superior Court Judge Grant Meiner.

Prosecuting Attorney David Bruneau has agreed not to seek an exceptional sentence for Conn, but made no other agreement on a sentencing recommendation.

Conn's attorney, Mike Trickey of Seattle, said his client planned to plead guilty when he was arraigned May 6 but that he had convinced Conn to wait until after a psychological evaluation.

Conn has been evaluated and now is getting sexual offender treatment, Trickey said. State sentencing guidelines call for a 3- to 4-year prison sentence.

However, Conn may be eligible for a special sexual offender option, which would give him up to six months in jail time, mandatory sexual offender treatment and a long period of community supervision.

Conn was charged with taking indecent liberties with boys from the fall of 1986 to April of this year.

Part of Conn's duties at Queen of Angels was to be in charge of the parish altar boys. Conn started work at the parish shortly after being ordained as a Catholic priest in June 1985.

A native of Longview, Conn has been relieved of his duties at Queen of Angels and is now in the custody of the Catholic Archdiocese of Seattle.

Port Angeles police referred about a dozen cases involving Conn to Bruneau.

The cases charged "reflect the time frame (of Conn's fondling) and the most serious," Bruneau has said. The boys and parents in some of the cases also didn't want charges filed against Conn, he said.

In papers filed in Clallam County Superior Court, Bruneau wrote that when Port Angeles police first contacted Conn on April 20, he readily admitted he had fondled several altar boys.

In fact, Conn gave police the names of more victims that police were unaware of, Bruneau wrote.


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