Marine Corps Priest Pleas Guilty to Molesting Boys at Base

Associated Press
July 2, 1993

A Catholic priest who was chaplain at the Marine Corps Air Station here was sentenced to 12 years in prison after he admitted molesting boys at the base.

Lt. Robert Hrdlicka of the U.S. Navy Chaplain Corps halted his court-martial bench trial on Thursday and pleaded guilty to six counts of indecent acts with a minor under 16 and one count of indecent liberties with a minor under 16.

Hrdlicka was relieved of his duties in February after an investigation began into reports of molestation while he was stationed at the Naval Air Station Sigonella in Italy in 1988.

The investigation was reopened in June after claims that Hrdlicka also had molested boys since being assigned to the Beaufort base in June 1990, said Chief Warrant Officer Phillip Williams, base spokesman.

The seven charges stemmed from two incidents in Italy and five in Beaufort, and involved four boys ranging in age from 7 to 11 years, Williams said.

Hrdlicka was the Beaufort base's only Catholic priest from June 1990 until February. He came into contact with the boys during Sunday School activities, confessions and other duties, Williams said.

The sentence, which also includes discharge and forfeiture of all pay and allowances, will not become final until Maj. Gen. D.A. Richwine of Cherry Point, N.C., reviews the case.

Marine Capt. Robert Pinder, who prosecuted the case, said a decision should come in about six weeks.


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