Dallas Resources – April–May 1998
By Michael Saul
Two women testified Tuesday that convicted child molester Rudolph "Rudy" Kos helped them through difficult times and that their lives were changed for the better because of the suspended Catholic priest's guidance.
"Father Kos stopped me from leaving home, and it was probably the best thing that happened to me," said Felicia Burgess, who met Mr. Kos at St. John's Catholic Church in Ennis. "My best friend had been raped, and he helped me through that difficult time. . . . He listened to me and he helped me.
As Ms. Burgess left the stand on the second day of the sex-abuse trial's punishment phase, Mr. Kos took off his glasses and wiped away tears from reddened eyes. It was his first public display of emotion since testimony began a week ago.
A woman diagnosed with breast cancer told the jury in state District Judge Janice L. Warder's court that Mr. Kos was the best priest that St. Luke's Catholic Church in Irving ever had. She credited Mr. Kos with helping her reconnect with her religion.
"If I had not had the faith that Father Kos had taught me, I never would have been able to cope with that kind of a tragedy," said Jenny Carter, referring to the cancer.
Mr. Kos, 52, was convicted Saturday of seven counts of child sexual abuse involving four young men who told police they were molested about 1,350 times. The seven convictions include three first-degree felonies that are punishable by up to life in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Under parole guidelines in effect at the time the crimes were committed, Mr. Kos would be eligible to seek parole in 15 years if sentenced to life in prison.
The attorneys are scheduled to deliver closing arguments Wednesday morning.
In testimony Tuesday afternoon, a psychiatrist who examined Mr. Kos told the jury that troubles in Mr. Kos' childhood severely affected his development.
Dr. Richard Jaeckle testified that Mr. Kos told him that he witnessed his father physically abuse his mother when he was 5 years old. After an incident of domestic violence, Mr. Kos was placed in an orphanage for about two years, Dr. Jaeckle testified.
Asked how his father's rage, the domestic violence and abandonment affected Mr. Kos, the doctor said, "It certainly must have had a very significant effect on his developing personality."
On cross-examination by prosecutors, the doctor conceded that he could not definitively tell the jury that Mr. Kos' childhood experiences led him to abuse boys. He also said he had no way of confirming the veracity of the childhood experiences that Mr. Kos discussed with him. And, he said, overwhelming evidence indicates Mr. Kos is a pedophile.
Dr. Jaeckle also testified that pedophiles are not readily rehabilitated. During his testimony, he suggested that Mr. Kos could be suffering from a "castration complex."
Asked later what that meant, defense attorney Brad Lollar said: "I didn't understand half of what he [Dr. Jaeckle] was saying."
The Rev. David L. Deibel, who monitored Mr. Kos' progress after he left a treatment facility in New Mexico in late 1993, said he believes the defendant adjusted well to his new life in California.
Mr. Kos spent several years in San Diego before he was arrested last fall and extradited to Texas on the charges he faces in this trial.
"He had established everything that his post-traumatic protocol required of him. He was in a stable living arrangement," Mr. Deibel said.
Mr. Lollar said he believes the children of Dallas County and any other county in the nation would be safe if the jury decided to grant Mr. Kos probation.
Assistant District Attorney Howard Blackmon, the lead prosecutor, said he disagrees.
"I don't care what he [Mr. Lollar] thinks," Mr. Blackmon said.
"I'm more concerned with what the 12 people are going to think, and we are going to find out tomorrow about that."
Mr. Lollar said Tuesday that Mr. Kos decided not to testify because Judge Warder ruled that he could not refuse to answer prosecutors' questions about sex abuse allegations not in the indictments by asserting his Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination.
"He had a story to tell and he wanted to tell his story, but the ruling with the court prohibits us from giving him that opportunity," Mr. Lollar said. "We can't take the chance. We just cannot do it, as much as he would like to."
Mr. Blackmon said he wanted Mr. Kos to testify but appreciates why he elected not to.
"It is just too much risk for him to take the stand and open that door," he said.
Before closing arguments, prosecutors plan to enter into evidence several photographs of children that were found among Mr. Kos' belongings.
Kos Gets Life Term for Molesting Boys
By Michael Saul
Rudolph "Rudy" Kos, the suspended Catholic priest at the center of the largest clergy-abuse judgment in U.S. history, was sentenced Wednesday to life in prison for molesting boys he met through three Dallas-area churches.
The jury in state District Judge Janice L. Warder's court returned a life sentence and a $ 10,000 fine on each of three first-degree felony convictions, the maximum sentence. The jury returned a sentence of 20 years in prison and a $ 10,000 fine in each of the four second-degree felony convictions.
Mr. Kos, a former nurse and Air Force medic, will serve the sentences simultaneously and is eligible for parole in 15 years under the law in place when the offenses occurred. His attorneys filed a notice of appeal.
As Nicholas Porter read his victim impact statement after the verdict Wednesday afternoon, Mr. Kos shouted, "You are a liar."
When Mr. Porter finished his statement, Mr. Kos said, "I'm sorry, your honor."
Assistant District Attorney Howard Blackmon, the lead prosecutor, said he was appalled by Mr. Kos' statement.
"It was just disgusting that he had that outburst. This despicable character that for years molested these boys chose not to testify, but yell from the gallery at one of these boys," Mr. Blackmon said. "What a coward."
One of the civil plaintiffs, Wade Schlossstein , called Mr. Kos "a gutless pig" after the outburst.
Brad Lollar, one of Mr. Kos' court-appointed attorneys, said he thinks the outburst was a reflection of the emotional stress and pressure that Mr. Kos was feeling after the verdict. Mr. Kos has consistently and adamantly told his attorneys that he had not molested Mr. Porter, Mr. Lollar said.
Mr. Lollar said he and his client were hoping for the best in the punishment phase of the trial but anticipated the worst.
"We expected that the jury might return life sentences in the cases and maximum sentences across the board because of the vast evidence," said Mr. Lollar, adding that his client does feel bad about his conduct. "He is genuinely remorseful . . . he does realize that he has caused harm and for that he is sorry."
Dolores Hosford, Mr. Kos' mother, said she will always stand by her son. She said she doesn't believe her son molested all the boys who accused him.
"He is my son and I love him and I will always love him," she said.
Mr. Kos, 52, was convicted Saturday of seven of eight counts of child sexual abuse between 1987 and 1992 involving four young men who told police they were molested 1,350 times. The jury acquitted him of one count of indecency with a child. On the first day of testimony, Mr. Kos pleaded guilty to three of the eight charges.
"I feel very sorry for the man because I really believe that he is a sick individual that really needs help," juror Tamara Bokman said after the verdict. "I don't think it is something that he actually had control over. It was just more of an animal urge."
Ms. Bokman said she hopes the trial raises awareness about sexual predators and encourages parents to be vigilant.
"There are a lot of people out there that are deceitful and will take advantage of you in any way they can," she said. "I hope that people will look a little closer before letting them into their homes and into their children's lives."
Donald W. Tope, the presiding juror , described the deliberations as very difficult and emotional. The jury deliberated about 71/2 hours over two days before reaching their guilty verdicts and about three hours Wednesday to determine the sentences.
"At the end of it," said Mr. Tope, a Catholic and a former altar boy, "I stood up and said a prayer with the whole group holding hands.
"We were tearful. We wanted to make sure that justice was served."
In his victim impact statement, Nathan Nichols told Mr. Kos that he will never forgive him.
"You took advantage of my open heart and vulnerable soul for your own perverted sexual pleasure and left me feeling I was tainted, that I had a defective soul," he said. "It disgusts me to think my childhood was sacrificed for your moments of pleasure."
Mr. Porter, 19, expressed similar sentiments. "You stole from me the man that I will never be. You stole from me the man I could have been," he said. "Instead now, I pick up the shattered pieces of my soul, my life forever changed.
"Rudy Kos: Think of this when you go to sleep at night. I know that you found in yourself some justification for what you have done, that we wanted it, that we liked it. I stand before you today and say, No, we did not,' " Mr. Porter said.
The victims' family members and friends cried and hugged one another after the jury's verdict.
Gail Pawlik, mother of one of the victims in the criminal case, said she is pleased that children will finally be protected from Mr. Kos. But, she said, she wants people to know that Mr. Kos was not the only criminal. She said the officials at the diocese acted criminally, too.
"They handed Rudy Kos and other pedophiles to us on a silver platter. They protected, pampered and promoted all these pedophiles for decades," she said. "Rudy Kos is a sick pervert, but what excuse does the church have?"
Mr. Kos' mother also blamed the diocese.
"I'm mad at the whole Catholic diocese. If they knew about this thing a long time ago, they should have stopped it and gotten help for him," Ms. Hosford said. "He was such a wonderful, wonderful priest, a wonderful person. He did so much for the people."
In July, a civil jury found in favor of 11 plaintiffs and returned a $ 119.6 million judgment against Mr. Kos and the Catholic Diocese of Dallas. Jurors in the 11-week trial found that the diocese covered up the abuse and urged church leaders to "admit your guilt."
Three of the plaintiffs in the civil trial have reached a $ 7.5 million settlement with the diocese.
Lisa LeMaster, a spokeswoman for the diocese, said in a written statement Wednesday: "We hope with the conclusion of the criminal cases that all of us can move forward with the healing process.
Meanwhile, the Bishop Charles V. Grahmann and legal counsel are committed to working toward final resolution of the remaining eight civil claims."
Robert Hultz, a civil plaintiff, said he is pleased that Mr. Kos will be off the streets for a long time.
"I hope this shows other people that justice can be served.
“Please come forward. I understand the depth of the pain people are going through," he said. "This is the final chapter in this horrid mess, and I hope I can now truly put this behind me and move forward with my life."
Nancy Lemberger, whose 21-year-old son, Jay Lemberger, killed himself in 1992 after years of Mr. Kos' alleged sexual abuse, said Wednesday that she, too, is pleased with the trial's outcome.
"This is not going to get Jay back. Hopefully, with all this behind us, there's enough validation that there won't be any more losses."
In his closing argument, Mr. Blackmon said a life sentence is the only justifiable punishment for Mr. Kos' crimes. "Folks, his actions have virtually murdered these boys' souls. They have turned their back on God," Mr. Blackmon said. "Lock him up for as long as you can - not only because it will protect society - because he has earned every day of it for what he did over those years that he abused these boys."
Doug Parks, Mr. Kos' other court-appointed attorney, told the jury that his client deserved probation because he has already taken great strides toward rehabilitation. Mr. Parks also argued that Mr. Kos, like his victims, never asked for this lot in life.
"I don't know whether it was nature. I don't know whether it was a lack of nurture. I don't know whether it was a combination of those things. I don't know that we will ever know. But I can tell you one thing with certainty: Rudy Kos did not ask for what he got," Mr. Parks said. "The children didn't ask for what happened to them. Rudy Kos did not ask for what happened to him. Some things are just mysteries."
[ Photo Captions: (1. - 2. The Dallas Morning News: Andy Scott) 1. Suspended priest Rudolph "Rudy" Kos (above) shouted, "You are a liar" to 2. Nicholas Porter (hugging his father, Steven) as Mr. Porter read his victim impact statement after Wednesday's verdict. At the end of the statement, Mr. Kos apologized to state District Judge Janice L. Warder for his outburst. He has denied molesting Mr. Porter.]
By Associated Press
Dallas (AP) - Suspended priest Rudolph "Rudy" Kos was sentenced Wednesday to the maximum punishment of life imprisonment for sexually assaulting altar boys in hundreds of attacks that earlier produced a record monetary judgment against the Dallas Catholic diocese.
Kos, 52, was convicted Saturday on three counts of aggravated sexual assault and was sentenced to life imprisonment on each. The same jury also convicted him of one count of indecency with a child for which he was sentenced to 20 years in prison.
Kos was sentenced to 20-year terms on each of three other charges to which he pleaded guilty at the start of the trial. He also must pay $10,000 in fines for each of the seven counts.
The prison terms will all be served concurrently.
Under parole guidelines in effect at the time the crimes were committed, Kos will be eligible to seek parole in 15 years. He could have been sentenced to probation because he has not previously been convicted of a felony.
Jury foreman Donald Tope said the deliberations, although only three
hours long, were tough.
Defense attorney Brad Lollar said the sentences did not surprise him.
"Of course, Mr. Kos is disappointed and emotionally upset," Lollar said.
Four victims told police they were molested about 1,350 times during
a five-year period.
"He's gotten what he deserved. It should be death, but he got the most that the law allows," said Wade Schlossstein, one of Kos' accusers.
Accuser Robert Hultz said, "I hope I can finally put this chapter of my life behind me now and move forward."
Last year, allegations against Kos led to a record $119.6 million civil judgment against him and the Catholic Diocese of Dallas. Witnesses testified during an 11-week trial that Kos sexually abused boys from 1981 to 1992 at three Dallas-area churches.
Three of the plaintiffs in that case were accusers in the criminal case.
By Michael Saul Staff
Two days after he was sentenced to life in prison on child sexual abuse charges, suspended Catholic priest Rudolph "Rudy" Kos said Friday he is sorry for the crimes he has committed and hopes someday to be forgiven.
"Forgiveness. That is what I ultimately will want. But, like I say, I will never get it. There is no way," said Mr. Kos during an interview Friday at the Lew Sterrett Justice Center. "I would like for them [the public] to think of me as a human being, not perfect, tried to be, tried to be all things to all people, and in the process, things went wrong."
In a two-hour interview, Mr. Kos said some of the allegations against him are true while others, he said, are vicious lies. He said he blames the Catholic Diocese of Dallas for making him a scapegoat for all of its problems and abandoning him when he most needed help.
Lisa LeMaster, spokeswoman for the diocese, said diocese officials are outraged and angry that Mr. Kos is "trying to point fingers somewhere else."
"There is one person to blame and that's Rudy Kos," Ms. LeMaster said. "This is someone who has proven his ability to be cunning and be persuasive and say anything and do anything to satisfy his own needs . . . and now he is trying to place blame elsewhere."
Mr. Kos, who wore a white Dallas County jumpsuit, became tearful several times when he spoke about his ostracism from the Catholic community. He cited problems in his childhood - including his parents' unhappy marriage and an incident of sexual abuse - as precursors to his behavior as an adult.
"There are certain things about life that you can't help. You are born with certain things, and even knowing that those things are yours to carry forever, sometimes you never want to admit it."
Much like the boys he admits to abusing, Mr. Kos, said he, too, is a victim.
"I have become a victim simply because my family [the diocese] has deep pockets. I had to be made out to be the worst, despicable creature in the world."
In his closing argument Wednesday, Assistant District Attorney Howard Blackmon urged jurors not to feel sympathy for Mr. Kos.
"Who cares what caused him to do this stuff? Is that going to mean you are not going to hold him responsible, accountable? " Mr. Blackmon said. "Obviously, he knew it was wrong. He is not somebody who didn't know right from wrong."
Mr. Kos, 52, was sentenced to three life sentences and four 20-year sentences after a Dallas County jury convicted him of seven of eight counts of child sexual abuse between 1987 and 1992. The abuse involved four young men who told police they were molested 1,350 times. The jury acquitted him on an eighth charge.
On the first day of testimony, Mr. Kos pleaded guilty to three of the eight charges. He will serve the sentences simultaneously and will be first eligible for parole in 15 years.
Mr. Kos said he is not a pedophile and never was. He said he suffered from a foot fetish but is now cured.
"I regressed into a period of time that I thought I was happiest, when I was 14, 15, 16-years-old, and not that I became a child, but I just preferred being around kids," he said. "I did suffer from a displaced or misplaced foot fetish that was inappropriately, I don't know, inappropriately . . . wasn't handled right. I should have had the resources to be able to deal with this, and I didn't."
Mr. Kos said he told a diocese official in the late 1980s that he needed help, but he never got the help he needed. He said he did not admit in that conversation to any incident of molestation.
Mr. Kos said he has been fighting the foot fetish since he was a child. The first time it occurred, he said, was with a relative.
But, Mr. Kos said, it was never his intention to hurt anyone.
Asked what he was thinking when the incidents occurred, he said: "I can't tell you how it happened. It wasn't like I planned it and it was intentional, like I . . . selectively groomed my victims. That is not true. There are hundreds of kids from 10 to 20-years-old that I have been around that can say - boys and girls, men and women - that I didn't do these things."
Mr. Kos said he doesn't believe he should go free for his crimes, but he said life in prison is not the answer.
"I think I have been through five years of hell already," Mr. Kos said. "I have lost everything, everything. I have lost my friends. I have lost self-respect. I lost my dignity. I lost everything."
If given a chance to speak to his accusers, Mr. Kos said, he would say: "If I offended you, you know, tell me, give me your forgiveness, let me make it up to you, let me do something. That is the way it is with all sin."
"The whole nature of reconciliation is not a matter of saying, `I'm sorry,' and the other person saying, `OK, I forgive you.'
There are bunches of components to true reconciliation, and that is a matter of meeting in some way and really getting into the hurt, the betrayal, the possibility of maybe some form of forgiveness, penance for what you've done."
Mr. Kos declined to give names of individuals, but he said some of his accusers perjured themselves.
"I would like to find out why some of them were lying. I would like to know what the motive is, who put them up to it," he said, adding that all of his accusers, even those who were truthful, exaggerated the number of incidents. "Come on now, in the period of time I've known these people and the number of times they accused me of doing things, when did I have time to sleep? When did I have the time to do anything?"
Mr. Kos said that the civil trial would have been very different, if the church had supported him.
In July, a civil jury found in favor of 11 plaintiffs and returned a $119.6 million judgment against Mr. Kos and the Catholic Diocese of Dallas. Jurors in the 11-week trial found that the diocese covered up the abuse and urged church leaders to "admit your guilt."
Three of the plaintiffs in the civil trial have reached a $7.5 million settlement with the diocese.
"He has taken the Diocese of Dallas to the brink of financial ruin," Ms. LeMaster said.
Mr. Kos said: "I was always under the impression that the diocese was going to provide an attorney, so we, you know, could take care of this together. And they didn't. They just hung me out to dry.
"From the get-go, I was perfectly willing to accept responsibility for anything I might have done," he said. "I was willing to work with the church, I was willing to do whatever it took and then go away at their request. But they chose not to do it."
Mr. Kos said when he discussed the first outcry, in 1992, with Monsignor Glenn "Duffy" Gardner, now the diocese's vicar general, he said Monsignor Gardner "made it sound like it was a business deal. " "He says don't worry. He says we're all family, and we are going to take care of you, and things are going to be cool," Mr. Kos said.
Monsignor Gardner could not be reached for comment Friday. Ms. LeMaster said the allegation is untrue.
Mr. Kos said he has taken confession in jail and counseled other inmates. He said he believes the community would be safe if he had been sentenced to probation because he has overcome his problem.
"If I had my way, I would be sitting in my apartment with a glass of wine, my computer and a good book, with my significant other with me, looking out on the ocean, just thinking, `Gee, I wonder what life is all about,' " he said. "I would just live out my life like that. "
By Ed Housewright
Lawyers for the Dallas Catholic Diocese argued before a judge on Tuesday that two insurance companies should pay part of a $119.6 million judgment against the diocese for sexual abuse by suspended priest Rudolph "Rudy" Kos.
Attorneys for the insurers, meanwhile, asserted that they shouldn't have to pay because the policies covering the diocese in the early 1980s excluded intentional acts such as sexual abuse.
State District Judge Anne Ashby, who presided over the civil trial last summer, issued no immediate ruling after Tuesday's hearing. The hearing took place two days before a critical date in the diocese's appeal process. On Thursday, the attorney for the eight plaintiffs who haven't settled can begin seizing church assets if the diocese hasn't posted an appeal bond of about $130 million.
Lawyer Windle Turley said he didn't expect the diocese to do so, but he would not say whether he planned to seek to seize assets immediately.
He and diocese attorneys are still in settlement negotiations, he said.
"If we don't come to some resolution quickly, we have to do something besides talk," Mr. Turley said. "We've made some progress, but we're still a long way apart."
Diocese attorney George Bramblett would not say whether the church planned to post the bond. Previously, he has said that the diocese didn't have enough money to do so.
"We just have to take it one day at a time," Mr. Bramblett said. "Windle and I are trying to settle the case. We're trying to avoid any property issues."
Mr. Bramblett would not comment Tuesday on whether the diocese planned to file bankruptcy. He has previously said that is an option.
Mr. Turley said it was unclear whether filing bankruptcy would prevent the seizure of diocese assets.
"Some courts have said it would," Mr. Turley said. "Some courts have said it wouldn't."
The other three plaintiffs settled with the diocese and the insurers - Lloyd's of London and Interstate Fire & Casualty - for $7.5 million in March.
At the hearing Tuesday, Mr. Bramblett argued that the diocese's policies with Lloyd's and Interstate from 1982 to 1985 covered sexual abuse. The abuse by Mr. Kos occurred at three Dallas-area churches from 1981 to 1992.
Mr. Bramblett said the diocese focused its arguments on 1982 to 1985 because in 1986 the insurers specifically excluded sexual abuse.
"If there was not coverage under the policy, why was it excluded in 1986?" Mr. Bramblett argued to Judge Ashby. "Without insurance coverage, the Dallas diocese cannot survive."
Lawyers for Interstate and the underwriters of Lloyd's argued that the policies did not cover the abuse because it was intentional.
"There is no ambiguity in those policies," said Charles T. Frazier Jr., who represents the underwriters of Lloyd's.
Mr. Turley also spoke at the hearing, siding with Mr. Bramblett in arguing that the diocese's insurance policies protected it against sexual abuse judgments.
"The fact is, they need this coverage to pay us," Mr. Turley said outside the courtroom.
He said he expected Judge Ashby to rule in a week or two on both sides' arguments.
A decision for either the diocese or for the insurers could motivate the other side to settle, Mr. Turley said.
One of the plaintiffs represented by Mr. Turley, Jim Sibert, attended the hearing.
"It's amazing it continues on," he said. "I'm not hopeful of it being resolved in a timely manner."
Last month, Mr. Kos was sentenced to life in prison after being convicted of seven counts of child sexual abuse.
"Without insurance coverage, the Dallas diocese cannot survive." attorney George Bramblett.
From Staff and Wire Reports
A state appeals court justice on Tuesday ordered the Dallas Catholic Diocese and plaintiffs' lawyer Windle Turley to undergo mediation in the sexual abuse case involving former priest Rudolph "Rudy" Kos, a church lawyer said. Both sides have had several mediation sessions ordered by the judge who presided over the three-month civil trial last summer. Diocese attorney Nina Cortell said the mediation order by 5th District Court of Appeals Justice Tom James was "appropriate." Mr. Turley would not say if he planned to seize church assets on Thursday, the first day he can do so if the diocese doesn't post an appeal bond of about $130 million.
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