Hill Country Monk Found Guilty Of Sexual Assault

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Date Published: 10/24/2007
Publication: KXAN (Austin TX)

Jurors have released their verdict in trial of a former Russian Orthodox monk in the Hill Country. The Blanco County jury found William Hughes guilty of four counts of sexual assault of a child.

The sentencing phase will begin at 2 p.m. Wednesday. Hughes could now face up to 80 years in prison.

KXAN Austin News will have much more on the verdict and reaction Wednesday at 5 and 6 p.m.

Accusers Take The Stand In Monk Trial

Two accusers took the stand Tuesday, claiming Russian Orthodox monk William Hughes sexually assaulted them.

One of the accusers testified that when he went to live at the Christ of the Hills Russian Orthodox Monastery in the 1990s as a novice monk, he was sexually assaulted by Hughes. He testified he and other novice monks were told sex was not a sin if it’s blessed by the brotherhood.

Hughes’ defense attorney argued that the novice monk at the time was 17, the legal age to consent.

“The state has to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the incidences occurred when the victim was under 17 years,” said defense attorney Eddie Shell. “The victim has made previous statements that it was 16-and-a-half 17 he’s not really sure.”

If Hughes is found guilty of the abuse, he could be sentenced to up to 80 years in prison.

Monks Walter Christley and Hugh Fallon will also be going to trial for sexual assault of a child.

Police said the head of the monastery, Samuel Green, 63, committed suicide with prescription painkillers about a month ago. He was also facing charges in the investigation.