A Catholic priest who advised bishops throughout the United States about how to deal with sexual abuse was arraigned in Marin County Superior Court Wednesday on a charge that he molested a teenage boy three decades ago.
The Rev. Gregory Ingels was charged with having oral sex with a 15-year-old Marin Catholic High School student in the summer of 1972 during a family outing at Muir Beach.
He did not enter a plea, but court commissioner Greg Jilka ordered him to submit to a “walk-through booking,” in which he would be photographed and fingerprinted, within the next 30 days.
Ingels, who was a deacon at the time of the alleged assault, was released on his own recognizance and is scheduled to return to court, presumably to enter a plea, on Tuesday.
A church lawyer, Ingels was one of four legal experts chosen by the Canon Law Society of America who put out widely respected guidebooks advising U.S. bishops on how to deal with abusive clerics.
He worked on a marriage annulment tribunal for the archdiocese over the past two decades, covering San Francisco, Marin and San Mateo counties. Officials with the archdiocese said Ingels continued to say the occasional Mass at St. Bartholomew Church in San Mateo until last July. He handled tribunal cases long after the church learned about his alleged sexual abuse in 1996.
The complaint, filed May 12, accuses Ingels of engaging in “substantial sexual conduct” with one of his students while at the beach. He was criminally charged under a controversial state law that allows some sex crimes to be filed beyond the normal statute of limitations.
Under the law, which is now being challenged before the U.S. Supreme Court, local prosecutors have one year to file charges after a formal allegation is made.
The alleged assault occurred while Ingels was a teacher at Marin Catholic High, two years before he was ordained. Among the evidence against him are incriminating tape-recorded comments he recently made to the alleged victim.
His lawyers, however, insist the statute of limitations on the crime has run out.