Testimony Starts in Trial of Priest

By Chris Barge
Rocky Mountain News
March 20, 2007,1299,DRMN_15_5430740,00.html

Fort Collins — An articulate but nervous 25-year-old man took the witness stand this morning in Larimer County District Court and began his testimony against a former Catholic priest accused of sexually assaulting him when he was 17.

The man told the jury that Father Timothy Evans touched him inappropriately on two occasions in 1999. He said he did not try to stop him "because he was the priest and they're the ones you're taught know everything," he said. "And besides, they have your best interests at heart."

The witness testified following opening statements by both sides in a trial expected to take all week. Evans, now 43, is being tried on two counts of sexual assault on a child by one in a position of trust, one count of sexual assault on a child in a pattern of abuse and one count of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

Evans is accused of committing the crimes early in his tenure as a priest at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in Fort Collins, where he served from 1998 until the Archdiocese of Denver removed him in 2002.

Evans is also set to stand trial in Jefferson County April 2 on a charge of sexual assault on a child by one in a person of trust, in a pattern of abuse. That stems from an incident prosecutors allege happened while he served at Spirit of Christ Parish in Arvada from 1995 to 1997.

In her opening remarks, Larimer County Deputy District Attorney Leah Bishop said the 25-year-old waited 4 years to tell anyone what had happened because he was confused, frustrated and angry. When he did go to police, they directed him to record a telephone conversation with Evans.

In that conversation, Evans agreed that "a lot of what happened in our relationship was inappropriate," and told the young man, "I shouldn't have been so damn obsessed with you," Bishop said.

Evans' lawyer, Joseph Gavaldon, told the jury that the alleged sexual encounters did not happen. He said the taped conversation four years later showed only how confused the 25-year-old was about a troubled childhood that Evans had generously tried to help him navigate.


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