Former East Tennessee priest found guilty of child rape

Former East Tennessee priest found guilty of child rape

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William Casey William Casey

By HANA KIM
6 News Reporter

BLOUNTVILLE (WATE) - A Sullivan County jury found former East Tennessee priest William Casey guilty Thursday of two counts of aggravated child rape and one count of criminal sexual misconduct.

Casey was found guilty of sexually abusing Warren Tucker, now 46, more than 30 years ago.

At that time Casey was head priest at St. Dominic's Catholic Church in Kingsport. Tucker was an alter boy.

Tucker has been divorced three times and bankrupt twice. He blames the sexual abuse for much of the downfall in his life. "Child molestation and child rape has long term lasting affects on you," he said after the verdict.

"He is a master of deception," Tucker said. "Obviously people saw through it in Tennessee, and I thank them."

Casey also served as a priest in Greeneville, Rogersville and Farragut Roman Catholic churches.

Despite Tucker's graphic and detailed accounts on the witness stand, there are still those who believe in Casey.

"As a human being he was so helpful to the elderly at our church and many parishioners," Regina Isenberg said.

She describes Casey as a father figure to her three sons and says she's confident there was never any abuse.

Casey has already pleaded guilty in July 2010 to crimes against nature in North Carolina and he's still facing charges in Scott County, Virginia.

Following the jury's verdict Casey was taken into custody. A bond hearing was set for July 22, when his sentencing hearing will be determined.

A conviction on each count can carry a fine of up to $50,000.

A statement from Bishop Richard Stika, of the Diocese of Knoxville, says in part: "We are brokenhearted at the pain and tragedy Mr. Tucker has experienced over the past years, and we sincerely hope that today's verdict will bring some healing to him. The diocese held four healing sessions in the areas of the diocese where Mr. Casey had served in order to reach out to any other potential victims and help all those who were hurting to begin the healing process. The diocese has cooperated fully with civil authorities since Mr. Casey's actions came to light and will continue to do so."

Soon after Tucker came forward, the Diocese of Knoxville permanently suspended Casey from being a priest. He no longer uses the title Father, wears clerical garb or acts in any priestly capacity.

Tucker says he's still dealing with the demons of his past. "You have to ask me if I had some closure a year from now. I can't tell you today."

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