No Parole for Priest in Sex Case

By Eugene Sutherland
Daily Town Talk
February 12, 2004

Convicted molester priest John Wesley Andries was denied early parole Wednesday by a unanimous 4-0 vote of the state Parole Board.

Andries, 48, was sentenced last May to two years in prison and two years' home incarceration after being convicted of molesting a 16-year-old Abbeville boy in June 2001.

Andries was staying overnight at the boy's house and was using a spare bed in the boy's room at the time of the incident.

An Alexandria native and former pastor of St. Margaret Catholic Church in Boyce, Andries showed no emotion either before or after the ruling.

The decision was issued after a parole hearing for Andries at Dabadie Correctional Center at Camp Beauregard near Pineville. It means he will serve out the remainder of his two-year sentence at Rapides Parish Work Center 1, where he is a trusty.

At Wednesday's hearing, Andries issued a one-minute apology to the parents of the boy he was convicted of molesting.

Parents relieved

The victim's parents said moments after the decision they are relieved Andries will remain in prison for the remainder of his sentence.

"When they said he was denied, it was just this relief," said Debbie Brown, the victim's mother. "The state of Louisiana has done something right. Just knowing he'll stay in jail is a start."

But it isn't the finish, apparently, for Brown and her husband, Daniel. The couple said they are displeased with the fact Andries is in a halfway house and that he has not sought sex offender counseling.

The Board echoed that sentiment, with one member saying he is "amazed" Andries had not sought the counseling, which is available through the work center where he is being held.

Andries did undergo psychological counseling during the period between his being charged and his sentencing.

The Browns have contacted Gov. Kathleen Blanco and state Senate President Don Hines, D-Bunkie, about their concerns.

"Those are our goals now," Debbie Brown said. "(Andries) doesn't sleep in a jail cell at night. I want Sheriff (William Earl) Hilton to know I'm not going away. I will be here. Just as my son fights for this country, we will fight for him."

The couple said they now look forward to the weekly call their son, now an 18-year-old U.S. Marine Corps lance corporal, places to them so they can share the news with him.

Daniel Brown said he was not convinced of the sincerity of Andries' apology at Wednesday's hearing.

"He's not sincere," Brown said. "From the day my son told us what happened, it was a year and 11 months and he (Andries) was still telling people he was innocent. Only after he had no options left did he plead guilty. If you're a real man, you don't do this to someone."

Andries said during the hearing that he would return to his job as a substance abuse counselor if released and that he would " ... live out the rest of my life the best way I can."

He added he himself was molested as a child by a neighbor and that he did not report the incident for fear of retaliation by his violator. When asked if he used intimidation as a means to silence his own victim, Andries answered, "No."

Asked if he had ever feared he has homosexual leanings, Andries said, "No, it's been mostly heterosexual. I had no father figure. I was in search of bonding with a male character."

When Andries said he had not used force or violence to molest the boy, despite the fact he'd also slept in an extra bed in the boy's room, Debbie Brown took exception.

Using trial transcripts of comments made by former state Attorney General Richard Ieyoub, Debbie Brown responded during an open comment period just before Wednesday's ruling.

"'On June 7, 2001, John Wesley Andries did commit a lewd and lascivious act on a juvenile,'" she read. In her own words, she continued, "He admitted to using force while my son was sleeping. That was as bad as using a knife or a gun."


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