Ex-Denver Minister May Face Jail Again
Pastor Who Did Time for Molesting Boy Didn't Register As Sex Offender When He Moved to S.D.

By Jean Torkelson
Rocky Mountain News (Denver, CO)
May 7, 2002

A former Denver minister who failed to register as a sex offender when he moved to a new state may face jail time and a fine.

The Rev. James A. Forsythe was on the clergy staff of the Metropolitan Community Church of the Rockies from 1996 to 2000. When he arrived, he was "forthright" about serving prison time in 1989 for molesting a 15-year-old boy in Kansas, the MCC pastor, the Rev. Jim Burns, said Monday. He said the church restricted Forsythe's access to minors.

But when Forsythe left Denver in 2000 to become pastor of a small MCC church in Rapid City, S.D., he failed to tell civil authorities about his past. He now may face one year in jail and $1,000 fine.

Forsythe said he didn't know about the sex-offender registration requirement in South Dakota and planned to file the necessary paperwork next week, according to the Kansas City Star.

Forsythe was a Roman Catholic priest in the Archdiocese of Kansas City when he pleaded guilty to molesting the teen-ager 20 times at his parish. He served three months in prison and seven months in a Catholic rehabilitation facility, according to a story in Monday's Kansas City Star.

Forsythe left the priesthood in 1990 to join the MCC church, which was founded 34 years ago as a Christian denomination designed for gays and lesbians.

He moved to Denver and joined the local MCC church, 960 Clarkson St., first as a lay member. He asked if he would be welcome, given his past, and was told yes, Burns said.

But the church's policy has changed: "The world is not the same place today as six months ago," Burns said. "I believe a national consensus has emerged that persons with that history should not practice ministry."


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