One Priest Acquitted in Nashotah House Sex Abuse Case, Three Others Sentenced

Episcopal News Service. July 27, 1995 [95-1181]

(ENS) One of five men charged with sexually abusing a boy at Nashotah House Seminary in Wisconsin during the 1980s was acquitted in a trial that concluded July 14. Three of the other four men have been sentenced and one awaits trial.

According to reports in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel newspaper, the Rev. Jason Samuel of St. David's Episcopal Church in New Berlin, Wisconsin, was found not guilty in Waukesha County Circuit Court on two charges of second-degree sexual assault of a child. Samuel was accused of having sex twice with a 14-year-old boy while a seminarian at Nashotah House in the 1980s. He denied abusing the boy and maintained that he rebuffed the boy's advances.

The boy, now 21 and attending college in Texas, made similar allegations in 1994 and early 1995 against three other former seminarians and a priest who visited the campus.

The Rev. Eugene Maxey, the only one of the five accused of abusing more than one boy, was sentenced in December, 1994, to 20 years in prison after entering an "Alford plea" to seven counts of second-degree sexual assault involving five teenaged boys between 1987 and 1988. The plea means that Maxey did not admit guilt but acknowledged that prosecutors had enough evidence to convict him. He was released from his post as a priest in Cheshire, England, when the investigation into the charges began.

Charles McCray, a third seminarian who did not graduate and was not ordained, was sentenced in November, 1994, to five years in prison after pleading guilty to having sexual relations with the boy in 1988.

The Rev. Russell Martin of Jacksonville, Florida, was found guilty of three counts of second-degree sexual assault in a trial that ended June 22 this year. Sentencing is scheduled for August.

The fifth man, the Rev. Anthony G. Miller, now a priest in Connecticut, still awaits trial on three counts of sexual assault of a child. He was not a seminarian at Nashotah House, but visited the seminary for a conference in November, 1988.

Gary Kriss, dean of the seminary, said that the events increased concern on campus about training in sexual misconduct. "We've done what everybody in the church is doing as far as sexual misconduct and sexual abuse training," he said. "We would have done it anyway," but the accusations made it a much higher priority, he added.

Because of continuous turnover in the student body and, to some extent, of faculty, Kriss said that the long-turn impact on the campus has been minimal beyond "the negative impact of knowing the school was getting this publicity." Since all of the events took place in the 1980s, "it has not created the kind of trauma that takes place in a parish" when a priest or former priest is implicated in sexual misconduct, he said.