Priest pleads guilty to molesting male teen
DURHAM — A Greek Orthodox priest pleaded guilty Wednesday to molesting a 15-year-old boy who sought his advice about family problems.
Father Angelo H. Kasemeotes, 65, of St. Barbara Greek Orthodox Church on Watts Street received a four-year suspended sentence on two counts of taking indecent liberties with a minor.
“He’s an extremely personable fellow and he took advantage of this boy,” said Bill Farrell, a special deputy attorney general. The state Attorney General’s Office handled the case because Durham District Attorney Ronald Stephens is a member of the church.
The sentencing followed a brief hearing during which graphic details of the priest’s sexual relations with the boy were disclosed.
It was a grim affair attended by several members of the church, who pinched their eyes to stop their tears and clasped their hands in prayer for their priest.
Kasemeotes’ supporters heard testimony about how the man who catered to their spiritual needs suffered immense loneliness after his wife died. His attorney contended that her death drove him to alcohol and drug abuse and to sexual obsessions.
The specific incidents involving the teenager took place in May and June of 1990. The boy did not come forward with the allegations until December 1991.
In a statement that detective Wallace Early read to the court, the victim said he was skateboarding along the sidewalk one day when he met Kasemeotes, who was walking his dog. The boy began to visit the priest at home to discuss problems with the boy’s stepmother.
While he visited the priest, the boy said, Kasemeotes often drank and played bisexual pornographic movies. The two began to discuss sex and eventually had intercourse on two occasions, the victim said in the statement.
The relationship began to take its toll on the boy, whose parents noticed odd behavior. Finally, the boy notified police, who arranged to tape a phone call to the priest.
On the tape, the boy asked Kasemeotes whether he should tell his parents about their relationship. Kasemeotes begged him not to disclose his name.
“Please, that’ll ruin my whole career,” the priest said. “They’ll defrock me and I’ll be down the tubes. I’ll be an embarrassment to my family.”
By March 31, 1992, investigators had gathered enough evidence against Kasemeotes to arrest him. He immediately confessed to the relationship, Early said.
Three days later, a bishop stripped him of his position in the church.
“I’ve regretted what happened many times over,” Kasemeotes told the courtroom. “I know it was wrong and I feel very sorry about it.”
After suspending the prison sentence, the judge ordered the priest to serve an active 21-day sentence in the Durham County Jail. After that, Kasemeotes must move to Atlanta, where he will live with his daughter, spend five years on probation and seek treatment for his alcoholism and sexual obsession.