Former Priest Admitted He Was Addicted to Internet Sex and Comment from Jesuit Official, Grafs 13-14
By Nick Wadhams
Associated Press State & Local Wire [Denver]
May 21, 2002
A former Jesuit priest who sent pornographic pictures to a 14-year-old girl admitted after he was arrested that he was lonely and addicted to chatting about sex on the Internet.
Patrick Henry O'Liddy, 45, who pleaded guilty to attempted sexual assault on a child in 1999, told police interviewers that he frequently had explicit sexual conversations online.
O'Liddy's case came to light Monday, after a story was aired by Denver's KCNC-TV. Police reports said O'Liddy, pretending to be a teen-ager, sent two pictures of his own penis to a 14-year-old girl. The images were discovered by her mother, who wanted to see what her daughter was doing on the Internet.
After police were contacted, an investigator posing as the girl agreed to meet O'Liddy at a convenience store. He was arrested in a nearby bar, where he went after seeing an unmarked police car on the scene.
He was placed 10 years of probation and ordered to serve 200 hours of community service.
In a police affidavit, O'Liddy told investigators he was "addicted to sexual topics that are discussed online."
He also said he was acting out of curiosity and had no interest in young girls. He left the priesthood after his arrest.
"I was just curious," he said in a taped police interview obtained by KCNC. "She seemed like she was interested in me. I was feeling lonely and I thought I would like to meet her."
Just before he was arrested in August 1999, O'Liddy worked at a youth center in downtown Denver called The Spot, where he supervised other staff. He resigned after five months when he was arrested.
The Spot's executive director, Dave DeForest-Stalls, said he asked O'Liddy in two separate interviews before hiring him whether he was attracted to children. He also ran a background check that turned up nothing.
"I asked point-blank are you a pedophile, are you attracted to young kids," DeForest-Stalls said. "Of course his answer was 'no."
' O'Liddy appeared to have been thinking about quitting the priesthood, because he had gone on a leave of absence from the ministry in February 1999, and wrote in his application to The Spot that he was considering starting a family. According to DeForest-Stalls, an investigation afterward turned up no evidence that O'Liddy had done anything to kids at The Spot.
One Jesuit official who still keeps in touch with O'Liddy described him as an intellectual whose employer speaks highly of him.
"This was obviously not the best part of this man," said Father Phil Steele, a Jesuit spokesman in Missouri. "It's something very unfortunate and an awful choice that he made, but there is a whole other side to him that is a very good person."
From 1995 to 1996, O'Liddy had worked at the Jesuit-run Regis University in Denver in the adult education program and the campus ministry program, university vice president Paul Bocker said. He left to work on his doctoral dissertation.
Bocker said he had met O'Liddy and saw no indication of any problems at the time. "He left here in 1996 in good standing."
The girl's mother, Katie Warner, has asked for an apology. O'Liddy, when reached by a KCNC reporter at a Denver-area religious arts store where he works, refused to talk.
"You tend to think of a priest as somebody you can trust but nowadays you really cant trust any of them," Warner told KCNC from her home in Amarillo, Texas. She did not return a call seeking comment.
O'Liddy's last listed address was in Westminster, and a message left there was not returned.
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