Barksdale Chaplain Gets 10 Years for Sex Abuse

By Erik Holmes
Air Force Times

August 5, 2008

A Pima County, Ariz., judge sentenced the former senior Catholic chaplain at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., to 10 years in prison and lifetime probation as a registered sex offender Monday after the priest pleaded guilty in May to six counts of sexual abuse of a minor involving three victims.

Maj. Gary Underwood pleaded guilty to sexually molesting three boys while he was a civilian priest in Arizona more than 20 years ago, before he joined the Air Force.

Underwood was charged in November 2006 with nine counts of molestation and sexual conduct with a minor under 15. The incidents occurred in 1983 and 1984.

Underwood is a priest in the Diocese of Tucson. He was essentially on loan to the Air Force, Tom Connelly, vice chancellor of the Archdiocese for the Military Services told Air Force Times in 2006, when the charges came to light.

“When the Diocese of Tucson became aware of the allegations ... they immediately ... suspended Father Underwood’s permission to function publicly as a priest,” Connelly said. “Father Underwood, until the issue is sorted out, cannot function as a priest chaplain in the Air Force.”

The Tucson Citizen contributed to this report.


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