Catholic Priest Busted in Sex Sting in St. Louis County

By Robert Patrick
St. Louis Post-dispatch
July 30, 2009

A Catholic priest was nabbed Wednesday night in an FBI sting aimed at men who wanted to rent young girls for sex, federal court documents filed Thursday show.

James Patrick Grady, 57, Pastor of St. Raphael The Archangel, showed up at a St. Louis County home Wednesday, offering to pay money to have sex with a 16-year-old girl, documents allege.

Grady had been exchanging e-mails with an undercover police officer or FBI agent Wednesday, inquiring about an online ad offering young females, according to an affidavit filed in court by FBI Special Agent Cynthia Dockery.

Grady asked for details and was provided a digitally-altered picture of a 16-year-old girl and a price of $80 for 30 minutes and $160 for a full hour, Dockery wrote. Grady asked for a massage from the girl, and was refused. He then asked for kissing and oral sex, Dockery wrote.

Grady then allegedly called the undercover officer and got directions to a secret location somewhere in the St. Louis area. He showed up with the money but became suspicious and had turned away to leave when he was arrested, Dockery wrote.

Grady admitted sending the emails and said he came to the house because he was "curious," Dockery wrote. He also admitted that he was a priest.

Federal prosecutors charged Grady Thursday in U.S. District Court in St. Louis with attempting to obtain a minor for a commercial sex act.

If convicted, Grady faces 10 years to life in federal prison. Federal prosecutors have asked him to be held in jail until trial, saying that he is a "threat to the community" a threat to try to obstruct the investigation or trial and that he stands accused of what is considered a crime of violence.

The Archdiocese said later there were no complaints in Grady's file. It said he is suspended pending outcome of the case, and that it will pay for his defense and post bail if it is set.

The sting, which began during the second week in July, had only resulted in arrests and charges against two men before Wednesday.

The allegations against those men are similar to those against Grady that they responded to an online ad and came to a house seeking sex with one or more underage girls.

The first man arrested, Matthew S. Nichol 43, responded to the ad on July 13 using an e-mail address containing the word "nicholcubs," and was told that the girls were 14 and 16. He was sent an altered picture of a clothed 16-year-old. He emailed that he was interested in sex acts and showed up at the house, eventually agreeing to pay $200 to have sex with both girls, charging documents claim.

The second man, David P. Hawkey, 25, was arrested Monday after he showed up at the house after agreeing to pay $80 for sex with a 14-year-old girl, documents show.

Hawkey, who used an email containing the words "," earns $2,000 per month working for a landscaping company and is single with two young children, ages 3 and 18 months, he told court officials.

He has no prior offenses but has outstanding traffic warrants, according to testimony Wednesday.


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