Entries in Confessions (3)


Confessions of Priest Who Molested 17 Boys Released

Image Source/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The lurid confessions of a priest who sexually abused young boys in his parish choir and the seminary offer a glimpse into one of the minds behind the massive sex abuse scandal that has rocked the Catholic Church.

Former priest Robert Van Handel's 27-page sexual history, which he wrote for a psychologist between 1993 and 1994, details his history of abuse and fantasies of abusing boys age 8 to 11. The document was released as part of a settlement between the Franciscan order of priests and 25 abuse victims.

In the essay, Van Handel, now 65 and a registered sex offender in Santa Cruz County, describes wrestling, tickling and fondling young boys whom he invited to attend one-on-one choir practices, admits to molesting high school boys at a seminary where he taught, and says he took pictures of young boys wearing few clothes or showering.

"It was clearly my choir and the fulfillment of my fondest dreams," he wrote. "Now I understand that it was also a constant supply of attractive little boys."

He also described an encounter with another priest, while Van Handel was in seminary around high-school age, in which the priest molested him while he was in the infirmary.

"While I don't think it is of crucial importance in my life, it is curious that this is nearly the exact activity I would perform 10 to 15 years later," he wrote.

Van Handel's account of his own descent into pedophilia traces his shame and guilt growing up, learning about and trying not to think about sex, into young adulthood, where he bought porn magazines and became interested in naked children.

"I asked my best friend once if he saw anything 'special' in pictures of children. He said, 'no, not at all.' I began to realize that I was different. Sometimes I worried about this, but I thought that as long as it was just fantasy, there was no reason to panic," he wrote.

He progressed from reading about sex with boys to taking pictures of young boys and finally, when he took over directing a boys' choir, abusing boys.

Van Handel describes trying to speak to a Franciscan counselor about his actions twice in the early 70's, but said he was too vague for the counselor to understand what he was saying.

In 1992, Van Handel pleaded guilty to one count of lewd and lascivious behavior with a minor and served four years in prison, and another four years on parole.

The release of Van Handel's confessions is rare, even among the thousands of church abuse cases that have made it to the court system in the past 10 years, according to attorney Jeffrey Anderson, who has handled more than 2,000 church abuse cases.

Van Handel and his attorney, Robert "Skip" Howie, did not return calls from ABC News seeking comment.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Tulsa Shooting Suspects Said to Confess

Alvin Watts (L) and Jacob England (R). Tulsa Police Department(TULSA, Oklahoma) -- Two Oklahoma men accused of a deadly shooting spree last week that apparently targeted black people at random along Tulsa's streets have confessed to the shootings, according to published reports.

Authorities say Jake England, 19, confessed to shooting three people and Alvin Watts, 32, confessed to shooting two.

The rampage left three people dead, and two more were seriously wounded.  Watts is believed to have shot two of the three who died, according to police.

All of the victims were black.  England and Watts, who police describe as white, have not been charged with hate crimes.

The confessions emerge as Tulsa police continue to piece together the puzzle that led to the shootings that terrorized Tulsa's African-American community beginning last Friday, until the men were arrested early Sunday morning.  Police recovered a weapon they believe was used in the shootings, sources told ABC News, but have not yet disclosed where it was found or any forensic evidence.

The two suspects appeared in an Oklahoma court on Monday via a closed circuit video from the Tulsa County Jail for a bond setting hearing.

Both men were booked under three counts of first-degree murder, two counts of shooting with the intent to kill and one count of possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony.  A judge ordered that they be held, with bonds set at $9.16 million each.

England and Watts are scheduled to be back in court on April 16 for an official arraignment. ´╗┐

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Lawyer: Garridos Confess to Kidnapping Jaycee Dugard

File: Released kidnapping victim, Jaycee Dugard, on her way to the "Rose Parade" before her 1991 ordeal. Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(PLACERVILLE, Calif.) -- The California couple accused of kidnapping 11-year-old Jaycee Dugard and keeping her prisoner in their home for 18 years made "full confessions" to police, a defense attorney involved in the case said Monday.

Stephen Tapson, the lawyer representing Nancy Garrido, told reporters that she and her husband Phillip Garrido admitted last month to snatching the girl off the street near her home in South Lake Tahoe in 1991. The lawyer described the admission as "full confessions."

Despite the alleged confession, Nancy Garrido, 55, hasn't changed her plea. She pleaded not guilty last November to 18 felony counts that include false imprisonment, rape and child pornography.

Phillip Garrido was due to enter a plea Monday, but his public defender asked that the arraignment be postponed to March 17. His lawyer Susan Gellman did not return calls for comment to confirm whether her client also confessed.

Tapson told reporters that Dugard was present during one of Nancy Garrido's interviews with police. That meeting was apparently the first time the two women had seen each other in person since the couple was arrested in 2009.

Nancy Seltzer, spokeswoman for Jaycee Dugard, would not confirm her client's presence at the interview or comment on Tapson's announcement.

Also Monday, the judge ruled that Phillip Garrido's psychological records could not be made public. Earlier this month he was ruled mentally competent to stand trial.

The Garridos were arrested in August 2009, when Jaycee, then 29 and living under an assumed name, accompanied Philip Garrido to a meeting with his parole officer. Garrido had been called in to meet with his parole officer after acting suspiciously on the campus of the University of California-Berkeley. Dugard brought along to the meeting two young children that Garrido had fathered with her. Under questioning she broke, dropping the façade Garrido had forced her to use for 18 years and admitted she had been kidnapped.

Investigators later uncovered a secret encampment guarded by a six-foot fence in the Garridos' backyard in which Dugard was kept captive.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio´╗┐

ABC News Radio