Blanco monk admits guilt but won’t serve any time

Author: Andrea Ball
Date Published: 02/24/2000

JOHNSON CITY — An ailing Blanco County monk accused of molesting a 13-year-old boy pleaded guilty Wednesday to nine counts of indecency with a child, but he won’t serve jail time.

Samuel Alexander Greene Jr., founder of the Christ of the Hills Monastery near Blanco, received 10 years deferred adjudication — the equivalent of probation. Under other terms of the plea agreement, Greene, 55, must pay a $10,000 fine, register as a sex offender and cannot have contact with children younger than 18 .

”I’m glad it’s over with, and I’m sure everyone else in Blanco County is too,” said District Attorney Sam Oatman.

Greene’s Austin attorney, Joe Turner, could not be reached for comment.

The guilty plea came after Greene’s trial was postponed several times because of the monk’s frail health. Greene, according to doctors’ letters presented in court, suffers from congestive heart failure aggravated by obesity.

Prosecutors wanted to conclude the case before Greene’s health worsened. ”If we never got to trial, justice never would have been served,” Oatman said.

The victim and his family support the deal, he added.

Greene, called Father Benedict at the Orthodox Christian monastery, is one of two monks charged last year with exposing themselves to and fondling a 13-year-old boy in 1997. The teen-ager was attending religious training at the monastery at the time of the offenses, prosecutors say.

A Blanco County jury found Jonathan Irving Hitt of Austin, the monastery’s financial officer and school headmaster, guilty of the charges in October. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Christ of the Hills Monastery is famous for an icon of the Virgin Mary said to weep tears of myrrh.

You may contact Andrea Ball at aball@statesman.com or 912-2506.