4 Monks Plead Not Guilty To Child Sex Assault Charges At Monastery

Published on 8/1/2006 in Nation, World » National Briefs

Johnson City, Texas — Four monks pleaded not guilty to charges alleging a boy was sexually assaulted at a Texas monastery that draws thousands of visitors every year, officials said Monday.

Authorities raided the Christ of the Hills Monastery last week in search of “instruments of child abuse,” Blanco County District Attorney Sam Oatman said.

The four monks, plus another serving a 10-year prison sentence for indecency with a minor, were arrested and indicted after a young man claimed he had been assaulted at the monastery beginning in 1993, when he was in his teens.

Oatman said another accuser has come forward, and others could follow.Three of the monks appeared in court in shackles Monday and entered not guilty pleas to charges of sexual assault of a child and organized criminal activity.

Monastery founder Samuel Greene, 61, who is ill, was not in court but has pleaded not guilty, Oatman said. The fifth monk, Jonathan Hitt, 45, was convicted in 1999 of indecency with a 14-year-old novice monk at the monastery.

Oatman said Hitt has not entered a plea on the new charges. The others, Walter Christley, 45; Hugh Fallon, 40; and William Hughes, 55, remained in custody.

Denial as a Monk! Men of God! There are others coming forward on this one, so keep on denying all the way to Hell.

Whoever stole the Sun, put it back and we'll drop all the charges!