Priest Charged with Sex Crime Bypasses Hearing
The Next Step Is a Pretrial, Which Is Expected July 19
Grand Rapid Press
June 11, 2004
A priest with local ties who is facing child predator-related charges waived his preliminary hearing this week, and his case will continue to wind its way through court.
The Rev. Shamaun Beas remains in the Macomb County Jail in suburban Detroit on a $5 million bond. He appeared in court there Wednesday.
Beas is charged with multiple felonies in connection with an Internet sting by the state Attorney General's office.
Earlier, the judge set Beas' high bond, saying he was considered a flight risk. Beas is from Pakistan and was serving a three-year internship with the Diocese of Grand Rapids.
In 2001, he worked six months at Holy Family Catholic Church in Sparta. He was serving as a priest at St. Patrick Catholic Church in Portland in Ionia County when he was nabbed last month as part of the online sting.
Authorities say Beas tried to solicit what he thought was a 14-year-old girl for sexual purposes. He allegedly made the trek from Portland to Warren, where he thought he was meeting the girl.
Instead, he was arrested.
If found guilty, his conviction could be used to prove a violation of his visa, and immigration officials could get involved, said Carol Isaacs, chief deputy with the Attorney General's office.
"Our understanding is that this person does not have an immigration case against him at the time. We'll proceed and if there is a conviction, he'll be sentenced and serving time. The conviction is what would be used to prove a violation of a visa," Isaacs said.
Authorities called Beas' alleged solicitation of the girl "lewd, outlandish and just unnatural"
But instead of chatting online with a young teen, police say Beas was talking to male, middle-aged investigators posing as "naive 14-year-old girls," said Warren City Attorney George Constance.
Beas faces eight felony counts, four of which carry 20-year sentences. He is charged with using a computer to commit a crime, child sexually abusive activity, using a computer to distribute obscene material, and using a computer to communicate with another to commit a crime.
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