Monk enters guilty plea in indecency case

Author: Associated Press (AP)
Date Published: 02/23/2000

JOHNSON CITY, Texas (AP)

An ailing monk pleaded guilty Wednesday to indecency with a child and was sentenced to 10 years’ probation. Samuel A. Greene Jr., 55, entered the guilty plea less than a week before he was scheduled to go to trial. Also known as Father Benedict, Greene was the leader of Christ of the Hills Monastery near Blanco.

State District Judge Gilford Jones accepted the plea agreement. Prosecutors said the 14-year-old victim’s family had expressed the desire to put the case behind them.

Greene, who has congestive heart failure, was brought into the courtroom in a wheelchair. His lawyers have sought in the past to delay his court case because of his health.

Child indecency charges against him and a fellow monk, Jonathan Hitt, were filed last year and stemmed from their actions involving a novice monk at the monastery in summer 1997.

In October, a jury found Hitt, 38, known as Father Jeremiah, guilty of indecency with a child and sentenced him to 10 years in prison.

The boy testified in Hitt’s weeklong trial that he had several sexual encounters with Hitt. He accused Hitt of climbing naked into bed with him and kissing and hugging him. The youth testified he didn’t object to the advances on the advice of Greene.

The court cases have caused the monastery to undergo close scrutiny in the past year. The Russian Orthodox Church broke its ties with the monastery.

Christ of the Hills opened near Blanco in 1980 and is known for its icon of the Virgin Mary that is said to weep tears of myrrh.