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Priest To Plead Guilty

Oct 2, 2002 | Maryland Gazette Newspapers

A former seminary student who sexually molested a Gaithersburg boy in the mid-1970s has agreed to plead guilty to one count of child abuse on Nov. 19 in Montgomery County Circuit Court.

The Rev. Wayland Yoder Brown of Savannah, Ga., who served as a priest in the Catholic Diocese of Savannah, also will plead guilty to one count of battery for offensively touching the boy's younger brother, according to a pre-indictment report filed Sept. 24 in Circuit Court.

"He feels very remorseful and wants to make something right because he feels badly about what he did," Brown's attorney, Paul F. Kemp, said. "It is a very old event, and yet he feels very strongly about what he did."

The victim, now 41, reported the abuse in March to the State's Attorney's Office. Brown was arrested June 26 at his home in Chatham County, Ga., and extradited to Montgomery County to face charges.

"This is a fabulous result for everybody," said Montgomery County State's Attorney Douglas F. Gansler (D).

"Brown deprived the brothers emotionally, physically and spiritually and will be held accountable," Gansler said. "It is a case where the victims lived with this for decades and clearly the wounds have not fully closed. Reluctant and hesitant as the victims were to come forward, being able to spare them the trauma of a public trial is a benefit."

Brown, while studying theology at the Catholic University in Washington, D.C., befriended the boy's family at the St. Rose of Lima Church in Gaithersburg. The abuse began in January 1973 when the boy was 12 and lasted until December 1975, prosecutors said.

Brown abused the boy in the church rectory, at a Catholic University dormitory, at his Gaithersburg home and in Georgia, prosecutors said.

Statutes of limitations in Georgia and Washington preclude other law enforcement agencies from pressing additional counts of child abuse against Brown in the same case, Gansler said. Maryland has no statute of limitations on felonies.

Brown faces a maximum penalty of 15 years in jail and will be sentenced by Judge Ann S. Harrington. However, sentencing guidelines call for probation to three and a half years in jail.

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