Molest Charges Reinstated against Priest

San Francisco Chronicle
March 23, 1996

A Marin County judge reinstated 11 child molestation charges against a Roman Catholic priest yesterday, hours before three new charges were brought against him.

The Rev. Gary Timmons, who worked in North Coast churches for 30 years, was accused last year of sexually assaulting two boys at summer camp in the 1970s. Those 11 charges of oral copulation and lewd conduct with minors were dropped in Sonoma County after a judge said the statute of limitations had expired.

Prosecutors appealed, arguing that newer laws allowed the charges to stand.

Ordinarily, a Superior Court judge in Sonoma County would hear that appeal. But all the county judges declined, because one of them is the father of an alleged victim, said attorney Ted Cassman, who is representing Timmons.

Yesterday, Marin Superior Court Judge Lynn O'Malley Taylor reinstated the 11 charges while the California Supreme Court decides whether the alleged crimes happened too long ago to prosecute.

Hours later, a Sonoma County Municipal Court judge decided there was enough evidence for Timmons, 55, to stand trial on three new charges of commiting lewd and lascivious acts with minors. A 19-year-old man and two 20-year-old men alleged that Timmons fondled them in 1989.

Timmons, who is free on bail, faces similar charges in Mendocino and Humboldt counties. A civil lawsuit against Timmons and two other Bay Area priests by 15 men who say they were molested as children has been settled for $ 2.5 million.


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