Priest Pleads Guilty of Molesting Boy
He Faces Wide Range of Punishment: from Probation to Life in Prison
By William C. Lhotka
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
December 17, 2002
A Roman Catholic priest pleaded guilty Monday of molesting a young boy while baby-sitting in Ballwin, and faces a sentence that could range from probation to life in prison.
That extreme range of punishment resulted from a "blind plea" deal in which the Rev. Gary P. Wolken, 37, agreed to admit the crimes, and St. Louis County prosecutors agreed not to make any recommendation about punishment.
Circuit Judge John F. Kintz set sentencing Feb. 28 on two counts of statutory sodomy and six counts of child molestation. The maximum would be two life terms plus 42 years in prison, and fines up to $30,000.
Wolken abused the boy, now 10, from August 1997 to July 2000, according to the charges.
At Monday's hearing, prosecutor Rob Livergood read each count of the indictment and described the sexual and physical actions Wolken took with the boy, who was in kindergarten when the abuse began.
After Livergood's recitation, Kintz asked the defendant if the state's allegations were "true and correct."
"Yes, sir," said Wolken, who was removed in March as an associate pastor at Our Lady of Sorrows Church in St. Louis and suspended.
The sexual abuse did not extend to any parishioners or students at the parish, officials said.
The Archdiocese of St. Louis suspended Wolken and triggered an investigation by Ballwin police after it learned about the allegations.
After his hearing, Wolken quickly left the courthouse with relatives. His attorney, J. Martin Hadican, said the former priest was in rehabilitation treatment at a private center in St. Louis County.
Wolken wrote a letter to parishioners of Our Lady of Sorrows on March 25 explaining his suspension and removal.
The church had already been rocked by the removal three weeks earlier of its pastor, the Rev. Michael Campbell, as a result of an archdiocesan review of 13-year-old allegations of past sexual abuse.
Any original material on these pages is copyright © BishopAccountability.org 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.
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