Ex-Priest Pleads Guilty to Abuse, Gets out of Prison

Associated Press, carried in Lexington Herald-Leader
November 27, 2007

SHEPHERDSVILLE — A former Roman Catholic priest whose conviction on sexual abuse charges was overturned by the Kentucky Supreme Court pleaded guilty in exchange for being released from prison.

Daniel Clark, 59, will serve five years of probation and five years under court supervision. He was given credit for four years and 10 months in prison before the Kentucky Supreme Court overturned his 2003 convictions on first-degree sexual abuse for molesting two boys between 1999 and 2002.

Mike Ferguson, an assistant commonwealth's attorney in Bullitt County, said Clark entered the plea on Nov. 21.

Clark, whose trial was scheduled to begin today, also will undergo a sex offender evaluation, Ferguson said.

Clark was convicted in 2004 of molesting two boys between 1999 — when one was 8 and the other 9 — and 2002. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

The Kentucky Supreme Court overturned his conviction in May, saying the trial judge gave faulty instructions to the jury and improperly allowed a former victim to testify.

Clark was accused in 19 lawsuits against the Archdiocese of Louisville. One involved a child in the Bullitt County case. All the cases have been settled.

Clark is the only former priest who has had a case heard before the state Supreme Court in the wake of the sexual-abuse scandal in the archdiocese. Four priests and two lay teachers within the archdiocese have been convicted of abuse since 2002.

Clark was removed from the priesthood in 2004 after his sex abuse conviction.


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