Priest Sought after Sex Abuse Conviction

By Gabriela Rico
Tucson Citizen
March 29, 2003

A national arrest warrant has been issued for a former Tucson priest who was convicted Wednesday of sexually abusing a 13-year-old boy 20 years ago.

The Rev. Thomas Patrick Purcell, 61, was arrested in Bullhead City in September and charged with sexually abusing the South Tucson boy, whose family Purcell had befriended.

Purcell was convicted of three counts of sexual conduct with a minor under the age of 15 and one count of attempted sexual conduct with a minor under 15, said Deputy Pima County Attorney Kathleen Mayer.

"The victim feels a profound sense of relief and hopes to put this behind him," Mayer said. "Even though it's taken 20 years, justice has been done."

Although Purcell checked in with pretrial services here the day before his trial began, he did not show up for the trial, and his whereabouts are unknown, Mayer said.

"He is rumored to be in central Arizona," she said. "He is rumored to be in Illinois. He speaks Spanish and has connections in Central America and Mexico."

Purcell faces four to 15 years in prison on each count, "if we find him," Mayer said.

His attorney, Leo Plowman, said he could not comment on the case or his client.

The victim, who now lives in California, lived in South Tucson in the early 1980s, when Purcell befriended his family and acted as "a father figure" to the boy, South Tucson police Detective Bryce Gardner, who conducted the initial investigation, said last fall.

Purcell was a visiting priest at St. Odilia Catholic Church, 7570 N. Paseo del Norte, at the time the abuse took place, according to the Catholic Diocese of Tucson.

Purcell was indicted following a three-month investigation.

The diocese cooperated with the investigation, Gardner said.

The diocese placed Purcell's name on a list of 16 publicly named priests accused of sexual abuse after Gardner contacted church officials about the case.

The diocese adopted new sex abuse guidelines in July.



Any original material on these pages is copyright © 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