Criminal Charges Filed against Retired Priest; Bail Set at $25,000

By Kate Leckie
Frederick News-Post
February 05, 2010

FREDERICK COUNTY (MD) -- A judge set bail at $25,000 Thursday for a retired priest removed from his position with the Catholic Church after allegations of child sexual abuse in the mid-1970s surfaced.

On Jan. 22, a Frederick County grand jury indicted Thomas Roy Bevan, 73, on two counts of child abuse by a custodian, according to court documents made public Thursday.

The documents were sealed until Bevan, a Cascade resident, could be served with an arrest warrant tied to allegations dating to January and April 1976, when he served as a pastor in Frederick .

If convicted, Bevan could be ordered to serve as much as 15 years for each of the offenses, Assistant State's Attorney Lindell K. Angel said.

Bevan did not speak during a Thursday bail hearing in Frederick County Circuit Court heard by visiting Montgomery County Circuit Judge Richard E. Jordan.

Jordan set a pretrial conference for March 26.

Citing Bevan's limited finances, defense attorney Stephen F. Brennwald urged Jordan not to set bail at $50,000 as Angel requested.

"He lives very simply," Brennwald said, mentioning the retired priest's house was worth about $100,000. While serving the church, Bevan never earned more than $2,000 a month.

"He has a small retirement fund," Brennwald said. "He's been a priest forever."

Brennwald assured the court his client would not flee.

"He has known about these (allegations) for months," he said. "If he was going to run, he would have done it by now."

In late November, the Catholic Archdiocese of Baltimore announced an investigation had determined allegations against Bevan were credible.

Bevan was removed from his position at the Church of St. Patrick in Cumberland in August after two people said Bevan abused them as minors while he served from 1974 to 1979 at St. John the Evangelist.

At least one alleged victim was an altar boy at the church, Angel said.

Two others came forward later, alleging abuse by Bevan while he was at a Middle River church in the 1970s, Archbishop Edwin O'Brien wrote in a letter to parishioners in the fall.

Bevan has denied the allegations, a church spokesman said when it was announced the priest had been removed from ministerial duties.

Frederick County State's Attorney Charlie Smith said his office takes such allegations seriously.

"We will continue to aggressively prosecute child sex abuse cases regardless of the age of the defendant," Smith said Thursday.


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