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Former Santa Fe Priest Faces More Sex Charges

Jan 22, 2003 | AP A former Roman Catholic priest already sentenced in one county for criminal sexual conduct faces felony charges in another county following allegations he molested boys.

After the priest, Jason Sigler, came to the state for treatment more than 30 years ago, the Archdiocese of Santa Fe paid at least $13 million to settle more than 20 sex-abuse lawsuits against him.

Sigler was sentenced last week in Wayne County to one year in jail after pleading no contest to criminal sexual conduct involving two boys. Sigler also received four years probation under the plea agreement.

On Tuesday, Sigler was charged with three counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and one count of second-degree criminal sexual conduct involving a 13-year-old altar boy in the spring of 1975.

He also is charged with two additional counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct involving the boy's younger brother.

Sigler, 64, sporadically served as a priest in Michigan during the 1960s and 1970s. He voluntarily left the priesthood in 1982.

Sigler stayed at the rectory of St. Robert's Catholic Church in Flushing from the fall of 1974 to the spring of 1975. Genesee County Prosecutor Art Busch said the 13-year-old boy was molested during that time.

A Flushing police investigation that began last spring determined Sigler's behavior at the church was "calculating and designed to put him in a position to fondle the boys," The Flint Journal reported.

Busch said the other boy was molested in the summer of 1976 or 1977, when Sigler returned to the area for a visit.

At his Wayne County sentencing, Sigler said he underwent intensive therapy and has lived a quiet life since leaving the priesthood and marrying.

Sigler came to New Mexico in 1970 for treatment at the Servants of the Paraclete center in Jemez Springs and was a priest at several churches in New Mexico.

According to lawyers and court records, he faced civil action in New Mexico and served probation on one criminal charge alleging abuse.

He pleaded guilty to a 1983 sex charge, and the Archdiocese of Santa Fe paid at least $13 million to settle more than 20 sex-abuse lawsuits against him.

At least 31 Catholic priests in Michigan have been removed, suspended or have left their duties since Jan. 1, 2002, amid sexual-abuse or misconduct allegations.

Some of the cases are under review.

At least 18 of those cases involved minors.

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