Former Patuxent Air Station Chaplain Convicted of Abusing Teen

By Eugene L. Meyer
Washington Post
November 19, 1993

The former Catholic chaplain of the Patuxent River Naval Air Station was convicted yesterday in a court-martial of committing indecent acts with a teenage boy.

The chaplain, Cmdr. Carl E. Drake Jr., was reprimanded, required to forfeit 18 months' pay and allowances, and ordered imprisoned for 18 months, starting at Quantico Marine Base.

At the same time, Navy Capt. James A. Freyer, who presided over the four-day trial at the Washington Navy Yard, acquitted Drake of five charges that he sodomized and engaged in indecent acts with the youth over a period of 4 1/2 years.

Drake, 55, a Vietnam veteran who served with the Marines along the Demilitarized Zone and celebrated Mass with them on many occasions under fire, had been on active duty for 25 years and at the base in Lexington Park since 1990.

The charges arose from the priest's relationship with a teenager, now 18, whom he had met while he was the chaplain assigned to the Marine Corps Air Station at Cherry Point, N.C., according to a Navy spokesman.

Gary Myers, the priest's civilian attorney, said the boy, who was 14 then, came from a troubled family. The boy was about to enter a juvenile home when Drake, at the request of the boy's mother, obtained a court order granting him custody. Drake then brought his ward with him when he transferred to the naval base in St. Mary's County.

Drake was convicted of getting into bed with the youth, caressing his body and attempting to touch his genitals on Feb. 24, and of disobeying an order to have no contact with the boy or his family after the allegation surfaced.

Myers said the youth related the incident to a woman who reported it to military authorities.

The youth participated in Alcoholics Anonymous, and the woman was separated from the youth's sponsor in AA. The youth also told her of alleged long-term sexual abuse by the priest. The Navy suspended Drakepended from his chaplaincy in April, and he also has been suspended from his priestly duties by the Archdiocese of Washington, the attorney said.

Drake testified in his own defense. The youth refused to testify at the trial, invoking his Fifth Amendment rights, Myers said. However, the woman testified at the court-martial as to what she had been told.

"I found it extraordinary that there would be an acquittal on the more serious charges of protracted abuse and a guilty finding on an event that allegedly occurred on the day the report was made," Myers said.

Myers said that he expected Drake to serve 15 months with good behavior and to retire from the military after his confinement. He said the priest plans to appeal the verdict through the military justice system.

Drake, an Ohio native with an unblemished military record, consistently maintained his innocence of the charges, Myers said.

Myers said the youth involved in the case is in the psychiatric ward of St. Mary's Hospital after a suicide attempt Wednesday night.

Meanwhile, the post of Catholic chaplain at the Naval Air Station remains vacant, a base spokesman said. The base has two other chaplains, both Protestant.


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