published Saturday, March 29th, 2014

Former priest appeals abuse conviction

KINGSPORT, Tenn. — A former Catholic priest convicted of molesting an altar boy is asking the Tennessee Supreme Court to overturn his conviction.

William Casey was sentenced to 35 to 40 years in prison in 2011 after a jury found him guilty of criminal sexual misconduct and aggravated rape.

Warren Tucker has said Casey abused him for five years, beginning in 1975 when he was a fifth-grader and an altar boy at St. Dominic's Catholic Church in Kingsport. The AP does not usually identify victims of sexual abuse, but Tucker went public with his claims.

Casey served at Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Chattanooga from 1969 to 1972. No victims are known to have come forward from Chattanooga.

Casey also petitioned the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals claiming the victim waited too long to report the crime. In the appeal, he said the delay in prosecution made it difficult for Casey to mount a defense because potential witnesses are dead.

A three-judge panel upheld the conviction in January.

The Kingsport Times-News reported the state's high court hasn't yet decided whether to hear the appeal.

Kingsport attorney Rick Spivey, one of Casey's attorneys, said they disagreed with the appellate court's decision and decided to ask the Supreme Court to review the case.

"We feel very strongly about our position," he said.

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