A Roman Catholic priest was found guilty yesterday of molesting two young brothers from a family he had befriended.
The Rev. Daniel Clark, convicted on two counts of sexual abuse, had pleaded guilty in a similar case 15 years earlier but was allowed to remain a priest.
The jury recommended yesterday the maximum of five years in prison on each count, to be served consecutively.
”This defendant, more so than any other, needs to be in prison,” prosecutor Michael Mann said. He said the 55-year-old Clark ”had a chance to change and he didn’t.”
The victims, now 12 and 13, testified that they were abused by Clark in their home and on outings with the priest. Prosecutors said the molestation took place over a four-year period ending in 2002. The boy’s mother had known the priest since childhood, and Clark was a regular visitor to the home. He also helped the family financially, including making payments on their trailer and buying food and toys.
Clark denied molesting the boys. His attorney told the jury the accusations coincided with a financial crisis in the boys’ family.
The family settled with the church as part of a $25.7 million agreement between the Louisville Archdiocese and nearly 250 plaintiffs.
In 1988, Clark pleaded guilty to sodomy and sexual abuse for molesting two boys at a church in Louisville. He served 90 days in jail and five years’ probation.
Archbishop Thomas Kelly removed Clark from public ministry after that. Church officials talked with Clark twice about leaving the priesthood, but Clark refused, according to archdiocese records.
Clark was named in more than a dozen of the nearly 250 lawsuits filed against the archdiocese in the past year.
Also yesterday, a priest in Ohio was sentenced to three years’ probation for promoting prostitution involving a 17-year-old boy he met in a bar. The Rev. Daniel McBride, 76, who pleaded guilty to the charge, also must register for 10 years as a sex offender.