A former chaplain at a Roman Catholic high school in the US state of Louisiana has pleaded guilty to assaulting two minors he met on the job and has been ordered to serve five years in prison, according to The Guardian .
Patrick Watney’s petition and sentencing came, Wednesday, after his victims demanded a tougher sentence, according to the newspaper.
One of the victims, who was present at the trial, described how Watney assaulted him in the mid-1990s. The newspaper quoted the victim as saying that Watney told him he could help him enter heaven, then took him to the parsonage where he touched his genitals. Watney also used his fingers to rape the victim during masturbation.
In a written statement after the chaplain pleaded guilty, the other victim described Watney’s sentence as “an unfair and light slap,” according to the newspaper.
The victim added that he did not exercise his right to address Watney or the judge, John Keeler, personally because he doubted that anything he said “would matter.”
“This leaves me feeling like an utterly valueless victim,” expressed the statement of the victim, meticulously crafted with the assistance of his attorney, Richard Travell.
According to the newspaper, the ruling, which was handed down by Keeler in the state court in the Covington suburb of New Orleans, also required Watney to serve five years of probation after his release from prison and his registration as a sex offender.
The assistant district attorney indicated Wednesday in court that Watney would have pleaded guilty without guarantees of leniency from his office and the verdict was left at Judge Keeler’s discretion.
The newspaper pointed out that Watney’s ruling contrasts sharply with another case in the US state of Ohio involving a Catholic priest accused of sexual crimes.
In the Ohio case, the pastor, Michael Zacharias, faces between 15 years and life in prison after being convicted by a federal court in May.
It has been discovered that he provided monetary compensation and made threats to cause harm to three victims who were subjected to sexual trafficking, all of whom he encountered while in service. It is important to note that two of these victims were minors at the time of the initial assaults