Appeals Court Judges Hear Case of Former Priest Accused of Child Rape
By Laura Halm
July 24, 2013
|"Our main issue is pre-accusatorial delay," defense attorney Matthew Spivey, of Kingsport, told the judges.|
|"Dead witnesses can't help you," said Tony Angelelli, who was there in support of Casey.|
|"We really have a problem accepting or hearing any kind of dismissal, but we leave that to the fine judges," Susan Vance said.|
Attorneys for a former Knoxville priest convicted of child rape returned to a courtroom Tuesday to appeal his conviction.
William Casey was convicted in 2011 in Sullivan County of criminal sexual conduct and aggravated rape in a case that dated back to the 1970s.
He was sentenced to a 35-year prison term.
The victim, Warren Tucker, is now in his forties. He says the abuse lasted for years.
The defense team is asking the Tennessee Court of Appeals judges to dismiss Casey's conviction
Casey's motion for appeal claims his rights were violated by not allowing cross examination of Tucker.
The former priest also claims the conviction was based on insufficient evidence and violated the statute of limitations.
"Our main issue is pre-accusatorial delay," defense attorney Matthew Spivey, of Kingsport, told the judges.
Spivey told the judges "William Casey's due process rights were violated by forcing him to stand trial of allegations he hadn't heard about for 35 years."
"Dead witnesses can't help you," said Tony Angelelli, who was there in support of Casey. "I just hope that now we have a chance for justice to finally be done and mercy to be rendered."
Prosecutors believe Casey was not shown prejudice during the 2011 trial because of the length of time.
"It doesn't change the defendant's testimony and the remaining proof presented," Assistant Attorney General John Bledsoe said. "There's no reason to believe any of those individuals could have testified that they were never together alone."
Susan Vance, who attended as a representative of the East Tennessee Chapter of Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, says she understands the appeal, but rejects the arguments being made.
"We really have a problem accepting or hearing any kind of dismissal, but we leave that to the fine judges," Vance said.
The defendant and victim were not in the courtroom during the hearing.
No decision was made. The court adjourned until August 20.
Casey pleaded guilty in 2010 in North Carolina to charges of crimes against nature.
During his time as a priest Casey served in Chattanooga, Greeneville, Rogersville, Farragut and Newport.