BishopAccountability.org
 
  Ex-Priest Avoids Trial on Sex Charges

By Lynne Bumpus-Hooper
Orlando Sentinel (Florida)
January 17, 1996

Prosecutors were able to achieve what they consider an important victory Tuesday when they accepted a no-contest plea minutes before the trial of a former priest and youth counselor was to begin.

By entering a plea agreement with former Catholic priest and youth counselor Thomas J. Pagni III - facing 13 charges involving sexual acts with children - the state effectively has stopped Pagni from working with children again.

In the case scheduled to start Tuesday, Pagni, 45, was charged with having sexual relations with a teen-ager who had been in a counseling group he led in 1992. Similar charges involving two other young boys were pending.

Instead, Pagni, in a quiet voice, entered no-contest pleas to all of the charges and was judged guilty by Circuit Judge Jere Lober. The proposed 10-year sentence falls within state guidelines. Sentencing is set for Feb. 21.

Most occupations that involve work with children, such as day care or counseling, prohibit the employment of anyone convicted of sexual offenses.

A civil suit, in which Pagni is a defendant along with Catholic Church officials, is pending in circuit court. That suit was filed by some of the victims in the criminal cases and alleges that the church knew about Pagni's sexual problems.

Pagni worked as a priest in Brevard and Lake counties, and several allegations of misconduct were made to church officials. Pagni was diagnosed by a psychologist as having pedophilia, an abnormal desire by an adult for sex with children. The condition rarely is cured.

Despite that knowledge, the civil suit contends, the church paid for Pagni to become a youth counselor. The Catholic church denies the allegations.

The criminal charges first came to light in late 1992 when the father of a victim discovered Pagni in bed with his nude son, who was 17 at the time. The family knew Pagni because an older son had been referred by a state agency to Pagni, a counselor at Wenz Counseling Center, then operating in central Brevard County.

The family had participated in group counseling and had referred other friends to the center.

"The state felt this was a good plea because there were some problems with some of the cases and the victims were comfortable with accepting a plea," Assistant State Attorney Ann Perrin said.

Perrin said there were problems with the length of time between the offenses and some of the young men felt embarrassed about testifying.

"Some of them were very upset after an earlier hearing that did not get into as many details as a trial would have," Perrin said.

 
 

Any original material on these pages is copyright © BishopAccountability.org 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.
     
guide of business management sytem guide of job opinions guide of capital goods guide of make fast money guide of Debt restructuring guide of home business guide of income money guide of hospital products guide of international market guide of repair roof before winter guide of website income guide of secure your business guide of face makeup tools guide of jewellery arts guide of tv shows guide of best places on earth guide of job plans guide of cheap cars guide of creating products guide of women tools guide of eat less guide of car insurance process guide of sport stuff guide of garden home guide of cheap insurances guide of electronic tech guide of healthy feeding guide of what is next in fashion guide of improve company guide of tactical insurance guide of make money at home guide of development in business guide of dept loan guide of cooking secrets guide of correct companies guide of jobs with more income guide of reviews o general products guide of improving technology guide of ideal job guide of business sectors guide of dept problem guide of unlimited business guide of suitable insurance company guide of money cars guide of how to market guide of heatlhy diet tips guide of decoration tipse guide of security problems