Priest Sentenced to 8 Years for Molesting Boys

By Thom Mrozek
Los Angeles Times
April 29, 1993

Calling the defendant "a predator," a Superior Court judge ignored pleas for mercy Wednesday and sentenced a Roman Catholic priest to eight years in state prison for molesting four children.

Judge Howard J. Schwab gave the stiff sentence to the Rev. Richard Allen Henry after hearing pleas for probation from Henry's attorney, a representative of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and the parents of the victims.

"I feel very sad about what I'm doing today, but I have no choice given the facts of the case," Schwab said. "This is a great tragedy."

Henry, 47, pleaded guilty in December, 1991, to committing sex acts with four boys who were members of his parish, Holy Redeemer Church in Montrose.

The victims, who were all members of the same household, were assaulted over a six-year period that ended in 1991.

The parents of the victims gave emotional testimony and asked Schwab to impose probation so Henry could continue counseling, which has helped him deal with his pedophilia.

"Prison only makes a better pedophile," the mother said. "They have time to dream about small children and they become perfect at pedophilia."

The woman continued: "I do know that prison is not the answer. To keep him . . . going to therapy, that's the answer."

The children still living at home also want to see Henry remain free, according to the family.

"They are not in favor of prison," the mother said. "They loved Mr. Henry and to this day they still love Mr. Henry."

Henry molested the children during overnight stays at the family house, and one victim told authorities that Henry would take the children out for doughnuts after the incidents.

"I wish with all my heart I could erase what I did with the kids," Henry told the court. He said he wished he could "take it away, go back in time. . . . I can't."

Henry is in recovery for his condition, he said, and fears prison because he would not be able to openly deal with his problems there.

Schwab previously delayed sentencing so Henry could attend two extensive rehabilitation programs in Maryland and spend 90 days in Wasco State Prison for a diagnostic evaluation.

A spokesman for the Archdiocese said Henry had been living in a retreat house not located in Montrose since completing treatment in February.

The Rev. Timothy Dyer, a longtime friend and vicar in the Archdiocese who oversees personnel matters, said in court Wednesday that Henry "was definitely a broken man" after his short prison stay. He promised that if probation was granted, the Archdiocese would pay for Henry's treatment and ensure that he never has another opportunity to molest children


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