Ex-Priest Admits Molestation, Gets Prison

By Bruce Schultz
May 21, 2003

ABBEVILLE - The father of a teenage boy molested by a former priest told a judge Tuesday he hopes two years in prison will be a deterrent in preventing the man from attacking more children.

"Maybe he'll think before he does this to somebody else," the father told the court. "That's our main concern."

The former priest, John Wesley Andries, 48, of Boyce pleaded guilty earlier this month to sexual molestation and could have been sentenced from one to 10 years in prison.

State District Judge Marilyn Castle sentenced Andries to five years in prison and suspended all but two years of that time with the recommendation that authorities place him in a facility with treatment for sex offenders.

She specified that his sentence cannot be reduced with credit for good behavior. Castle also ordered him to serve five years probation, with the first two years under house arrest with electronic monitoring, and said any contact with minors must be under limited circumstances.

He was originally charged with sexual molestation but in a plea bargain, he admitted to the lesser charge of sexual battery.

The victim's father told the court when the incident first happened in June 2001, "We had a lot of feelings of wanting to get revenge, but we started realizing we didn't want this to happen to anyone else.

"I do want him to suffer, but that's just a feeling I'm trying to get over," he said.

The victim is enlisting in the military, his father said. "He couldn't be here today because it's just too much for him," the father said. The father confirmed for the court that the family had consented to the terms of the plea bargain.

Andries, pastor of St. Margaret Catholic Church in Boyce, was accused of molesting the 16-year-old boy one night at the boy's Vermilion Parish home. "He was visiting for the evening, and he was in the boy's bedroom when the act occurred," Assistant District Attorney Ted Ayo said.

The prosecutor said the boy told his parents about the incident the next day. Public records show that authorities developed forensic evidence linking Andries' DNA to the crime, and they believe the crime occurred while the youth was sleeping.

Defense attorney Rodney Baum of Baton Rouge was seeking a change of venue because of publicity about the case, but Andries pleaded guilty before that issue was resolved.

Public records in the case indicate that Ayo intended to present evidence in the trial to show that Andries had been previously accused of molesting a child in 1998 in Natchitoches, resulting in a lawsuit.

District Attorney Mike Harson said the plea and sentence were proper.

"I think overall it's a fair resolution," he said. Harson said no evidence was uncovered of extensive abuse involving additional children. "Maybe he was just getting started," Harson said.


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