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Archive for Monday, May 6, 2002

Ex-priest an unregistered sex offender

May 6, 2002

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The Rev. James A. Forsythe was a Roman Catholic priest in the Kansas City suburb of Overland Park when he molested a 15-year-old boy.

Forsythe, who served three months in prison, is now a Protestant minister in South Dakota, where a newspaper found he has not registered as a sex offender as required by law.

Forsythe, 47, pleaded guilty in 1989 to attempted indecent liberties with a child. He admitted molesting the boy about 20 times while a pastor at Holy Cross Catholic Church in Overland Park.

A Johnson County district judge said Forsythe was a pedophile and ordered him to have no contact with teen-age boys a restriction the judge later lifted.

Forsythe, who told The Kansas City Star on Friday that he did not know he needed to register in South Dakota, pleaded guilty Dec. 8, 1989, to attempting indecent liberties with a child.

He was sentenced to from one to five years in prison, but released on probation after three months and sent to a Catholic facility in New Mexico for seven months of residential treatment. He left the priesthood in 1990.

Since January 2000, Forsythe has been minister of the Metropolitan Community Church of the Black Hills in Rapid City, S.D. Forsythe said he had remorse for what happened in Kansas, but that he did not pose a threat to teen-agers today.

"I love the ministry, and I loved the priesthood," Forsythe told the Star on Friday. "I thought I made a good priest. But I'm not called to be celibate. And for me to be in that environment was not healthy."

Church officials said that they were aware of Forsythe's past and that there had been no allegations of sexual misconduct against him since he joined the denomination.

"When he was appointed here, we were told by the district liaison," said Charles White, a lay delegate at the Rapid City church. "He made a mistake. It's all done and over."

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