Ex-Priest Gets 4-Year Prison Term for Sexual Imposition

By Bruce Cadwallader
Columbus Dispatch (Ohio)
July 9, 1994

A former Roman Catholic priest who admitted sexual contact with a Columbus boy 11 years ago was sentenced yesterday to four years in prison - two more than expected.

Michael Hanrahan, 48, of Hartford, Conn., faced up to 30 years in prison on four counts of gross sexual imposition.

Hanrahan, who had no criminal record, received counseling in the 1980s for the same type of offense. He resigned from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Columbus last year and began treatment in a Connecticut psychiatric hospital.

Assistant Prosecutor George Ellis recommended that Hanrahan get two years in prison for the four convictions. But Judge Alan Travis of Franklin County Common Pleas Court ordered Hanrahan to prison for two years on each charge, with two sentences to run concurrently.

Travis also ordered Hanrahan to pay the costs of counseling for the victim and ordered the former priest to complete more counseling himself in prison.

Before sentencing, Travis heard impassioned pleas from the victim's family for a longer prison sentence.

Hanrahan himself said he was sick about the incidents.

"Eight and a half years ago, I was very much in need of psychological counseling for a compulsive sex problem I had in my life. I have accepted my guilt. There's no one else to blame," Hanrahan said. "My sorrow is intense."

Hanrahan fondled the boy and performed a simulated sex act while lying naked beside him, Ellis said. The boy's parents had allowed him to sleep over with the priest on occasions. The victim is now 23 and living out of state, his family said.

Two of his older brothers have since come forward to accuse Hanrahan of similar crimes against them, but the statute of limitations has expired for prosecuting Hanrahan in those cases. They filed civil lawsuits against Hanrahan and the diocese, and one has been settled out of court.

Yesterday, the victim's mother told Travis that trusting Hanrahan was a tragic mistake. "Mr. Hanrahan came into our home as a religious person, someone we were brought up to respect. We assumed he would be a positive role model."


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