Ga. Priest to Admit to Md. Abuses during '70s

By Phuong Ly
Washington Post
September 26, 2002

A Roman Catholic priest accused of sexually molesting two boys in the 1970s while he was a seminary student working at a Gaithersburg church has agreed to plead guilty to the allegations, Montgomery County authorities said.

The Rev. Wayland Y. Brown, 59, who was assigned to the Diocese of Savannah, Ga., before his arrest in June, is being held in the Montgomery County jail. The Montgomery state's attorney's office said in a court filing Tuesday that Brown has agreed to plead guilty on Nov. 19 to one count each of felony child abuse and battery.

In March, a 41-year-old Gaithersburg man told prosecutors that he had been sexually abused by Brown for three years when he was a teenager attending St. Rose of Lima Church, State's Attorney Douglas F. Gansler said. The man told prosecutors that he came forward with the allegations because he felt authorities would be inclined to believe him, in light of the sexual abuse scandal that has rocked the Catholic Church in the United States this year.

Gansler said that police later interviewed the man's brother, now 39, who also alleged that Brown had abused him in the 1970s. Brown was then a student at Catholic University and Washington Theological College in the District.

"You're dealing with victims who have spent years and years trying to grapple with what happened to them as a child," Gansler said yesterday. "They're elated that they're not going to have to go through a public trial. He's accepting responsibility, and he's going to be held accountable."

Brown could be sentenced to up to 15 years in prison on the child abuse charge. The battery charge carries no specific penalty.

Paul F. Kemp, Brown's attorney, did not return a telephone message yesterday seeking comment on the case.

According to court documents, authorities based the charges against Brown not only on the alleged victims' recollections, but also on incriminating remarks made by Brown during a recent telephone conversation with the 41-year-old man that was monitored by police.

Brown has not worked in "active ministry" since 1988, when he was removed as associate pastor of St. James Parish in Savannah, the diocese there said in June, at the time of Brown's arrest. The diocese said that he was removed because of "personality issues," not criminal misconduct, but that he was still receiving income and retirement benefits.


Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.