Luis Monard, 25, was cleared by a Queens jury of forcible rape charges yesterday after a prosecutor was forced to produce a witness he had kept hidden from the defense. Monard was found guilty of statutory rape and endangering the welfare of a child, affirming the defense’s argument that he had consensual sex with a 14 year old girl on the roof of her Elmhurst building on May 17, 2001. He faces 3 1/2 to 7 years in prison for statutory rape.
(Queens, New York)
Members of Long Island’s gay community gathered last night in Deer Park to discuss how best to combat leaders who they say are unfairly blaming them in the wake of strong words by several church and community officials linking homosexuality to pedophilia. Meeting organizer Tom Hroncich and other activists say they are angered by a series of statements by church and community leaders linking homosexuality to pedophile priests. Hroncich, who is publisher of the local gay and lesbian magazine Outlook Long Island, said, I find it ironic that leaders of
America’s Catholic cardinals returned home yesterday from Rome, amid a storm of criticism of their proposals for dealing with the priest sex abuse scandal rocking the church. Edward Cardinal Egan told The Post Our meeting was very positive, there was much progress made, and a better understanding of the problems and how we must correct them. But others are not so sure the meeting among the cardinals, top bishops and Pope John Paul II will do anything to solve the problem of child molestation by priests.
Last night America’s Roman Catholic cardinals said they would propose a special process todismiss sexually abusive priests to avoid grave scandal in the future and to safeguard the commongood of the church. But they stopped short of proposing a much-discussed zero tolerancepolicy.
Bishop William Murphy, Long Island’s tough-talking Catholic bishop, said he will immediately fire and try to defrock any child-molesting priest he catches – a dramatic change to his diocese’s long-standing sex-abuse policy. The policy revision comes as the Archdiocese of New York agreed to release sex-abuse victims from confidentiality agreements required in civil-case settlements.