Black Collar Crime Round-Up: July 15, 2012

Charles Abdelahad • Daniel Ivan Ashby • Thomas Brosmer • Michael Kelly
Giuseppe Savaia • Balázs Tarnai • Alexander Bede Walsh

Charles Michael AbdelahadParoled: Charles Michael Abdelahad, 56, former pastor, St. George Antiochan Orthodox Cathedral, Worcester, Massachusetts, sentenced in May to two years minus all but 90 days with three years’ concurrent probation, after his conviction on charges of assault and battery and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, for beating and biting a 45-year-old female parishioner who had come to him for counseling for an eating disorder. Telegram.com reports that on July 5th, his victim “received a phone call from the state Parole Board, informing her that the Rev. Abdelahad had been granted parole and would be released July 13 … after serving just 49 days.”

The report adds that the victim “was dumbstruck. Not only was she unaware that parole was an option, but she was never notified of the July 2 hearing so she could object to his release, which is her right as a victim under state law. ‘This man almost murdered me, and his sentence was an insult,’ she said. ‘Now, his early release is the ultimate slap in the face. And the fact that I was never given the opportunity to have any say has left me angry, frustrated and very depressed.’” Story: Conservative Babylon, February 1, 2011; Conservative Babylon, May 2, 2012; Conservative Babylon, May 30, 2012; Telegram.com, July 12, 2012

Daniel Ivan AshbyCharged: Daniel Ivan Ashby, 39, former principal (for about eight months in 2011), Community Christian School, operated by Calvary Community Baptist Church, Northglenn, Colorado, and (for the same church) Christian missionary to Lima, Peru (alt cache), where he and his wife spent ten years, “planting” Iglesia Bautista Vida Nueva (New Life Baptist Church) and teaching at Monterrico Christian School (“with Ivan’s primary ministry being as the [school] administrator”); with possession and distribution of child pornography across state lines. According to 9News.com, a federal investigation began in October, 2011, “when an FBI agent discovered an Internet user thought to be sharing child pornography. The user had traded suspected child pornography from IP addresses in Englewood, Denver and Lima, Peru.” Other IP addresses were reportedly traced to “Ashby’s house in the metro area and also the Calvary Community Baptist Church in Northglenn.”

In December, 2011, the FBI “seized several computers from school offices,” shortly after which Ashby resigned from the school. Ashby and his wife are the parents of four young children. The Ashbys’ now-defunct website for their Peru mission made several “prayer requests,” including: “Opportunities to help families understand biblical marriage and parenting.” Story: 9News.com (with video), July 13, 2012; KMGH, July 13, 2012; KDVR, July 13, 2012. See also: CCBC newsletter, March/April, 2011 (page 4)

Thomas BrosmerAccused: Thomas Brosmer, 68, Roman Catholic priest; parochial vicar, Saint Cecilia Catholic Church, Columbus, Ohio, whose past assignments have included numerous parishes throughout Ohio (as well as teaching positions at several Catholic schools), including St. Nicholas Parish, Zanesville, where, it is alleged, he sexually abused a child between 1969 and 1973. The Catholic Diocese of Columbus has announced that, after concluding “the allegation was credible and warranted further investigation,” Brosmer was placed on administrative leave. Story: Catholic Diocese of Columbus, July 12, 2012

Michael KellyNew allegations: Michael Kelly, 62, Roman Catholic priest, formerly of Annunciation Cathedral, Stockton, California; St. Andrew’s Catholic , San Andreas; and pastor, St. Joachim Catholic Church, Lockeford; who in April fled to Ireland rather than face a civil suit in which he was found liable of child molestation committed during the 1980s. Kelly has also been under investigation since September, 2011, over allegations he molested a St. Andrew’s altar boy nearly a decade ago. The Calaveras Enterprise reports that “an untold number” of new “accusers have come forward to police and attorneys across three counties” charging Kelly with sexual abuse. “Stockton attorney John Manly confirmed he will press ahead with litigation on behalf of several new clients. … Manly said he was personally approached by nearly a dozen ex-parishioners and others in recent months, including two from Calaveras County.” Story: Conservative Babylon, April 9, 2012; Conservative Babylon, April 18, 2012; Calaveras Enterprise, July 10, 2012

Giuseppe SavaiaArrested and charged, twice: Giuseppe Savaia, 43, Roman Catholic priest, St. Claire’s Catholic Church, North Palm Beach, Florida; with grand theft. Savaia was first arrested on December 9, 2011, after allegedly shoplifting a picture frame worth $895 from Niemann Marcus in Boca Raton; six days later, on December 15th, he was allegedly caught shoplifting two Italian coats from another Niemann Marcus, in Sunrise. Each time, he appears to have been caught on surveillance video; you can see the videos at the second and third news links below. Savaia resigned from his church after writing one letter to the Diocese of Palm Beach, and another to his parishioners, saying he was heeding the advice of his bishop to “tend to personal duress as well as to comply with the proper legal process in establishing my innocence.” So far, the Diocese has not issued a formal statement on the matter. Savaia is due to be arraigned in two different counties on successive days, Palm Beach on August 23, 2012, and Broward on August 24th. Story: Sun Sentinel, July 9, 2012; WTSP, July 11, 2012; WSVN, July 13, 2012

Balazs TarnaiIndicted again: Balázs Tarnai, 36, Hungarian-born assistant professor of special education, Seton Hill University (where the “Catholic identity of Seton Hill University is a distinguishing mark of the University today, as it has been since its founding by the Sisters of Charity in 1918”), Greensburg, Pennsylvania, and autism expert; originally indicted in November, 2011, “on charges of receipt and possession of material involving the sexual exploitation of a minor,” according to U.S. Attorney David J. Hickton. On July 10, 2012, Tarnai was indicted on new charges, including production of child pornography, allegedly victimizing four boys.

The USAO reports: “According to the seven-count superseding indictment, on March 30, 2011, Tarnai knowingly received visual depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct by computer and the United States Mail. The superseding indictment also charges that from Feb. 9, 2006, to Oct. 5, 2008, and from Oct. 25, 2008, to March 30, 2011, Tarnai knowingly possessed and accessed with intent to view videos and images in computer graphic files, the production of which involved the use of minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct. In addition, the superseding indictment charges that on or about Sept. 27, 2008, Oct. 5, 2008, Nov. 15, 2008, Dec. 22, 2008, and Jan. 11, 2009, Tarnai employed, used, persuaded, induced, enticed, and coerced minors to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing a visual depiction of the sexual exploitation of the minors.” Arraignment is scheduled for July 19, 2012.

Tarnai’s now-missing page on the university website noted that his doctoral research “focused on social-behavioral aspects of socio-sexual education for students with cognitive disabilities.” A 2006 paper written at Penn State was titled “Review of Effective Interventions for Socially Inappropriate Masturbation in Persons with Cognitive Disabilities.” Story: U.S. Attorney’s Office, November 4, 2011; Tribune-Review (via Bishop Accountability), November 5, 2011; U.S. Attorney’s Office, July 10, 2012; Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, July 12, 2012. See also: Facebook

Alexander Bede WalshAppeal denied: Alexander Bede Walsh, 58, former Roman Catholic priest, Staffordshire, U.K., who in March was sentenced to 22 years following his conviction of 21 charges of sexual abuse committed against young boys (including one who tried to hang himself after being molested) over some 18 years. This Is Staffordshire reports that “top judges” rejecting his bid for an appeal ruled that Walsh “deserved every day of his 22-year jail term for his ‘unimaginable breach of trust’.” Story: Conservative Babylon, March 12, 2012; This Is Staffordshire, July 11, 2012

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Filed under Black Collar Round-Ups, Catholics Gone Wild

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