Ex-Priest Charged in Sex Abuse of 2 Boys
Victims Say Battery Occurred in Late '70s

By Lynn Porter
Tampa Tribune [Florida]
March 28, 2003

Tarpon Springs - Authorities have charged a former Catholic priest with sexually abusing two 11-year-old boys during his tenure at a Tarpon Springs church in the 1970s.

Gerry Appleby, 68, was arrested Tuesday in Texas on a warrant issued by the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office.

The warrant charges Appleby with two counts of capital sexual battery, one for each victim, said sheriff's Detective Cpl. Lee Miller, who investigated the case.

The abuse occurred either in 1978 or '79 at St. Ignatius Catholic Church, Miller said.

The victims came forward in May, he said.

Appleby, who also goes by Russell Gerald Appleby, is one of three priests who served in the Catholic Diocese of St. Petersburg in the 1970s and '80s that the diocese said in May had been accused of misconduct with minors. Appleby served St. Ignatius in 1978-79.

The diocese said that in 1994, it received a "credible complaint of misconduct with a minor" against Appleby that occurred during his year in Tarpon Springs.

Appleby was in Hayes County Jail in San Marcos on Thursday with bail set at $100,000.


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