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  Former OC Priest Charged in Kidnap
Cleric Convicted in '86 Molestations

By Tracy Weber and Donald E. Skinner
Orange County Register
May 3, 1990

A Roman Catholic priest, on probation after being convicted of molesting four altar boys in Huntington Beach in 1986, has been arrested and charged with kidnapping and assaulting a 14-year-old boy in Albuquerque, NM.

The Rev. Andrew Christian Andersen served as a priest at St.

Bonaventure Church in Huntington Beach until his arrest in April 1986.

He is accused of dragging a seventh-grade boy into his car on a downtown Albuquerque street March 12 and attempting to molest him several times in a three-hour period.

In September 1986, Andersen was convicted on 26 counts of molesting a 13-year-old and three 12-year-old altar boys in Huntington Beach.

Andersen was sentenced to five years' probation.

In 1986, the Orange County molestations tore apart the church community and pitted Andersen's supporters and the parents of the molested children against one another. Many of his supporters continued to deny that the molestations took place even after he was convicted.

After the sentencing, Superior Court Judge Luis A. Cardenas said he agonized over the case. "If you ask me, do you think he'll be cured, the answer is 'no,' but will he be a repeat offender? No. I think he'll refrain out of fear."

The first report of Andersen molesting boys came to St. Bonaventure officials in 1983. Instead of contacting police, Monsignor Michael Patrick Duffy sent Andersen to counseling. Andersen continued working with altar boys.

Duffy said Wednesday that he was saddened by the incident in Albuquerque.

"It's a pathological state you know. It's very difficult to cure I understand," said Duffy, who has not maintained contact with the priest. "I thought he was getting the proper treatment."

After Andersen's conviction, Bishop John Steinbock, then head of the Diocese of Orange, issued a statement saying Andersen "would never be in contact with children again."

Andersen spent two years at the Villa Martin Foundation House in Jemez Springs, NM, a church-operated center for Catholic priests with emotional problems -- including sexual dysfunction.

Andersen then moved to a halfway house in Albuquerque, where he was working at a university, said William Monroe, Andersen's former attorney. Monroe, who has kept in contact with Andersen but did not know of the recent charges, said the priest had been taking a drug that inhibits the sex drive.

According to the 14-year-old boy's police statement, Andersen drove by him four times. He offered to give him a ride or take him for a bite to eat. The boy refused. But on the fourth pass, the boy approached the car and the priest pulled the boy inside.

Orlando Torres, assistant district attorney in Bernalillo County, said that for the next three hours Andersen drove the boy around the city attempting to molest him repeatedly.

When Andersen stopped at a traffic signal, the boy escaped. Shortly afterward, the boy reported the attack and Andersen's license number to a police officer.

Andersen was arrested at his home soon after.

Torres said he probably will seek an indictment from a grand jury next week.

Members of Andersen's former church in Huntington Beach expressed surprise and sadness Wednesday over the recent charges.

"Oh no. That's really upsetting," said Mary Ann McGuckin, a longtime member of St. Bonaventure's, whose children were not involved with the molestations. "The last we heard he was in treatment. It was easier to talk about it before, when it was a little closer to us. Now, it's just sad to hear about it."

Huntington Beach police spokesman Lt. Ed McErlain said, "It's unfortunate the leniency of the court has caused more victims to suffer."

Orange County Deputy District Attorney Mike Koski, who prosecuted the priest on the Orange County charges in 1986, said Wednesday that he did not know if Andersen will be returned to Orange County on a probation violation.

 
 

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