Former local priest jailed for sex crime

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Date Published: 08/30/2001

A former local priest has been sentenced to nine years in prison, for kidnapping and attempted rape involving a child.

The Rev. Andrew L.J. James, 67, was indicted by a Franklin County grand jury last September on nine counts of rape, plus one count each of kidnapping and pandering obscenity. James, who is named in court records as Lawrence Joseph James, was charged in the indictment with having engaged in sex with a 10-year-old boy, whom he allegedly forced to submit by force or threat of force.

Records of the Ohio Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation indicate that James was convicted in Franklin County on counts of kidnapping and attempted rape, and sentenced to nine years in prison. He was sent to Madison Correctional Institution in June.

James had been a priest of the Russian Orthodox Church, a status he held until at least late 1999, according to a website maintained by the church.

While a resident of Athens, James — commonly known as ”Father James” — was well-known for his frequent and outspoken letters to local newspapers.