Priest Accused of Sexual Abuse of Teenage Boy
By Andy Netzel
December 9, 2005
A Roman Catholic priest has been accused of sexually abusing a teenage boy while serving in Bayou La Batre, Coden, Daphne or Monroeville, according to church and law enforcement officials. His tenure as a priest includes 17 months as the head of youth ministry for the Archdiocese of Mobile.
The Rev. Timothy Wayne Evans, 39, has been put on administrative leave from his duties as the pastor of St. Margaret's Catholic Church in Bayou La Batre and St. Michael's in Coden. Evans is under investigation by the Mobile County district attorney's office, but no charges have been filed, officials with that office said Thursday. Officials declined to state where and exactly when the alleged abuse occurred.
"We regret this, of course," said the Rev. Jim Cink, director of the Mobile Archdiocesan Office of Child Protection. "We want to say we're sorry to this family, and we have. We want to care for the family, and we will care for them."
Evans is accused of substance and sexual abuse in relation to a teenage boy, according to a statement by the archdiocese. The incident occurred "up to six years ago," Mobile County District Attorney John M. Tyson Jr. said. The accuser is now an adult, but was a minor at the time of the alleged incident. Tyson said he couldn't comment further about the details of the case, which is in the initial stages of investigation.
Church officials said they learned of the allegation Dec. 2. On Monday, the archdiocese interviewed Evans, placed him on leave and alerted law enforcement, Cink said. The church is having doctors mentally and physically evaluate Evans, Cink said.
The rapid time frame is a nod to the policy the archdiocese adopted after a nationwide flurry of allegations against priests were made public in 2002. At this time, the office Cink holds was created. Nationwide, bishops often conducted their own investigations before alerting authorities, or simply did not alert authorities, according to news accounts.
"I appreciate the candor and speed of which the archdiocese has responded to this allegation," Tyson said.
Only one other active investigation is being conducted in the Mobile Archdiocese, Cink said. The Rev. Arthur Schrenger is on administrative leave. He has appealed to Rome the archdiocese's finding that he had two instances of misconduct with minors prior to 1985. The case was never prosecuted because, according to the Code of Alabama, a statute of limitations applies for sex crimes alleged to have occurred before Jan. 7, 1985, and to have involved victims under 16.
Former local Catholic educator Brother Nicholas Paul "Brother Vic" Bendillo, who is a member of a men's religious order but not a priest, is serving the first year of a five-year prison sentence for enticing a child and for sexual abuse.
Evans was ordained in 1994 and assigned to Christ the King Catholic Church in Daphne, where he served until June 2000. He became pastor of Annunciation Catholic Church in Monroeville at that time. In 2002, he became the pastor of St. Margaret's in Bayou La Batre, and also served as pastor of St. Michael's in Coden, where an associate pastor runs most day-to-day operations. From June 2003 to November 2004, he also served as the director of the archdiocesan Office of Youth Ministry.
Each move represents a natural progression with more responsibility, Cink said. Evans was never placed -- nor has he asked to be placed -- on leave before, Cink said.
Maria Bueche, a parishioner of Christ the King, said she's known Evans for years and does not want to see his name tarnished. She said she does not believe the allegations.
"I know there are bad priests," she said, "but I can assure you Father Tim Evans is not one of them."
One allegation has been made against Evans. Both the district attorney and the Catholic Church are actively seeking anyone who has been affected by any negative conduct by Evans to contact them. Tyson of the District Attorney's Office is available at 574-8400, and Cink of the archdiocese can be reached at 432-2737 or 661-3908.
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