A Roman Catholic Priest Was Held without Bond in Citrus County Jail

United Press International
June 7, 1985

Rev. Norman J. Rogge, a Roman Catholic priest from Montgomery, La., was held without bond in Citrus County jail Friday, charged with one count of sexual battery of a boy under 14.

Rogge, 60, who ministered at Sacred Heart Church in Tampa in the 1960s and 1970s, returned to Florida voluntarily and was booked into county jail Thursday night.

He and Michael D. Betancourt, 43, of Tampa, are accused of sexually assaulting an 11-year-old Tampa boy during an outing in the woods last July.

Betancourt, who was charged with sexual battery and aggravated assault, has been in Hillsborough County jail in Tampa since December when he was convicted of sex charges in an unrelated case.

Conviction of sexual battery of a boy under 14 carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.

The case has been under investigation since October when the boy came forward after telling his father of the alleged incident.

According to police, the boy went on the outing with Betancourt, an acquaintance of his father, and they met the priest at a vacation site. A third man is reported to have been there, but no one else is charged or named in the complaint.

The boy said a man he described as a priest, and a man named Mike, spent much of the time during the outing in the nude.

Betancourt was interviewed about the allegations at the jail earlier this year by a reporter for The Tampa Tribune, and Rogge was interviewed by telephone.

Both acknkowledged being at the outing with the boy, but denied any wrongdoing.

"Nothing of any immorality took place," Rogge said during the interview. He said there was nudity among the adult men "part of the time, yeah, because it was so hot," and said there was "nothing immoral, or (nothing) intended."

Rogge, who also is listed as Anthony Rogge in police records, said nothing when he turned himself in, according to detective Pat Fisher.

Betancourt is former head of the defunct Child Search Inc. which helped search or missing children.

Rogge's name was on a list of purported members given to the reporter last year by Betancourt. Rogge told the reporter he knew Betancourt and was familiar with the group, but was not a membre.

Child Search Inc. folded last fall after The Tribune reported Betancourt had a criminal record for a sex crime against a child.v


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