Priest Charged with Sex Offenses
Case Dates to Late '70s, When He Was Teacher at Loyola Blakefield
By Tim Craig
June 27, 2001
A priest in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Wilmington, Del., who is a former Loyola Blakefield language teacher was arrested yesterday and charged with molesting one of his students more than two decades ago.
The Rev. Kenneth J. Martin, 55, turned himself over to Baltimore County police yesterday morning to face child abuse, third- and fourth-degree sex offense and perverted practice charges. He was released on his own recognizance, said Bill Toohey, a police spokesman.
Martin has been a priest in the diocese since 1989 but was "loaned" to the National Conference of Catholic Bishops last year, said Robert Krebs, communication director for the Diocese of Wilmington.
Martin was associate director of the conference's U.S. Bishops' Committee for the Liturgy. The committee "oversees the preparation and approval of liturgical books" and "provides leadership in liturgical formation," according to the conference Web site.
The diocese recalled Martin to Wilmington last week after the allegations surfaced.
"We have had some sparse information that there have been some allegations against Father Martin that go back to the 1970s," Krebs said. "We are just now trying to gather the facts."
Before he became a priest, Martin was a language teacher at Loyola Blakefield, a Catholic high school in Towson, from 1970 to 1986.
Martin was arrested after one of his former students, now 38, said he was abused from 1977, when he was in 10th grade, until his senior year.
"He started helping me, as my father was not there for me in my life. He started playing with my head," the former student told police, according to the charging document. "The first time anything happened, I was at his house. He was tutoring me (in) Spanish."
The man told police Martin fondled him and the two engaged in sexual acts numerous times.
The former student said most of the incidents occurred at Martin's house in the first block of Oakway Road. But the man said a few took place while the two were on golf trips or at Martin's mother's house in Brooklyn, N.Y., according to court documents.
"He would give me alcohol," the man told police, court documents said.
Martin did not answer phone calls yesterday. His attorney, Richard M. Karceski, did not return calls seeking comment. Martin, on the advice of Karceski, declined to be interviewed by police, according to court documents.
The man said he stepped forward after 22 years because he believes that the abuse is causing him problems with alcohol and drugs, according to court documents.
Toohey said police are searching for other former Loyola Blakefield students who might have been victimized. There is no statute of limitations on sex crimes.
Carroll Bodie, chairman of the board of Loyola Blakefield, said the school is cooperating with police.
"No one can recall anything even remotely like this happening before," Bodie said.
Martin, who lives in Wilmington, was assigned to the Church of the Holy Child in Wilmington until he went to work for the Conference of Bishops last year.
Krebs said the diocese has launched an investigation into Martin.
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