Blanco monks, church settle sex abuse case

Author: Molly Bloom
Date Published: 12/14/2006

Undisclosed payment will be made to man who said he was assaulted repeatedly at monastery

The Russian Orthodox Church and two Blanco County monks have settled a lawsuit filed by a man who says he was repeatedly sexually assaulted by the monks when he was 15.

Under the terms of the settlement, Christ of the Hills Monastery founder Samuel Greene Jr., William Hughes and the church will pay James Wright Jr. a financial settlement without admitting they did anything wrong, said Mark Long, Wright’s lawyer.

The church broke ties with the monastery in 1999 after an initial criminal investigation into the alleged abuse of a 13-year-old boy by two monks.

Monk Walter Christley and nonprofit Ecumenical Monks Inc., which owns the monastery’s land, were also named in Wright’s suit but did not reach a settlement with him, Long said. Wright will pursue his suit against them, Long said.

Long declined to say how much money Wright will receive in the settlement.

Wright, who served with the Marines in Iraq, is now married with a child and works as a homebuilder. He has started counseling, Long said.

”He’s doing the best he can,” he said of Wright, who says the abuse occurred in 1998 and 1999.

The three monks named in Wright’s suit and two other monks, Hugh Fallon and Jonathan Hitt, were indicted in July on charges of sexual assault of a minor and engaging in organized crime related to the alleged assaults.