BLOUNTVILLE, Tenn. - A former Roman Catholic priest was convicted today of raping an altar boy more than three decades ago.
A jury in Blountville returned its verdict after about seven hours of deliberation, convicting William Casey of two counts of aggravated rape and one count of criminal sexual misconduct. Casey served Sts. Peter and Paul Church in Chattanooga as associate pastor from 1969 to 1972.
Casey did not testify in his own defense.
The Associated Press does not routinely identify people who allege they are victims of sex crimes, but 46-year-old Warren Tucker of Jeffersonville, Ind., has gone public with claims that Casey molested him. Tucker was a teenager and attended the church school at St. Dominic's Catholic Church in Kingsport when Casey was the senior priest there in the 1970s.
Shortly after the verdict was rendered, Bishop Richard F. Stika of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Knoxville released a statement in which he said Tucker deserves closure.
"We are brokenhearted at the pain and tragedy Mr. Tucker has experienced over the past years, and we sincerely hope that today's verdict will bring some healing to him," Stika wrote.
He also said church officials have cooperated fully with state investigators since the case surfaced and will continue to do so.
The 77-year-old Casey earlier pleaded guilty to similar North Carolina charges and faces prosecution on sex charges in Virginia.