Abuse Victim Admits to Criminal Record, Facing Ga. Arrest Warrant

By Colette M. Jenkins
Akron Beacon Journal [Ohio]
July 5, 2002

In his effort to hold the Roman Catholic Church accountable for his sexual abuse as a child, Christopher Kodger has attracted attention -- both wanted and unwanted.

A flurry of media reports in late May described Kodger's belief that Cleveland Catholic Diocese officials knowingly moved the priest who molested him in 1981 at a Kirtland parish, F. James Mulica, to another parish, giving Mulica access to more children.

A local woman who searched the Internet for more on Kodger found his name on the most-wanted list of the Nahunta, Ga., Police Department and contacted Chief Christopher Beasley. Beasley confirmed it was the same man. (He won't identify the woman.)

A warrant for Kodger's arrest was issued in December after he failed to show up for a hearing related to a public-intoxication conviction. He hadn't paid the $553 balance on his $735 fine in the small town between Savannah, Ga., and Jacksonville, Fla.

Police were called to a convenience store in Nahunta about 10:45 a.m. on July 10, 2001, by a clerk who reported that the driver of a tractor-trailer had almost hit her car and the gas pumps, then fell over his steering wheel.

According to a police report, the responding officers found Kodger asleep and had to use their siren to wake him up. After Kodger failed a field sobriety test, he was arrested and charged with driving under the influence. His blood-alcohol content measured 0.18 percent, higher than what was Georgia's limit at the time: 0.10 percent.

"Because he wasn't actually driving the truck at the time, the charge was reduced to public drunkenness, even though we know the truck didn't drive itself to that store," Beasley said.

Kodger admits that he's the same Christopher Kodger wanted in the 930-resident Georgia town. He returned to Northeast Ohio and the Brunswick home of his parents from Alaska in May to tell his story of being a victim of sexual abuse by a priest. He wouldn't say if he was intoxicated at the time of his arrest in Georgia but said he plans to pay the balance of his fine as soon as he gets the money.

Kodger was also convicted in 1999 in Medina County of improperly handling a firearm in a motor vehicle, a misdemeanor. His 90-day sentence was suspended, and he was placed on probation for a year.

"The fact that I don't fit into society is proof of the depth of the damage done to me as a child," Kodger said. "I have to live in the bush. Victims of abuse are antisocial. We suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. We are anti-authority. I have continuously been in minor trouble with the law -- this is what abuse does to a person.

"Still, I have never been accused of conspiring to rape children, and I have never been accused of violence toward another human being."

Beasley said Nahunta police can't do much but wait for Kodger to pay. "The judge is not going to extradite him on a misdemeanor," the chief said. "But it's frustrating to know where he is and not be able to do anything about it. To drive under the influence of alcohol is bad enough, but to do it behind the wheel of a two-ton killing machine is worse."


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