Home/Rod Dreher/Sauron Is Going To Jail

Sauron Is Going To Jail

Father Thomas Faucher is going to spend the rest of his life in prison (mugshot from Ada County Sheriff's Department)

I woke up late this morning, checked the headlines, and went back to bed. I kid you not.

A reader — a Catholic priest, by the way — sent me the worst news of the day. You haven’t heard of this, probably. You’ll wish you hadn’t. I’m about to post excerpts from a newspaper story about a priest just convicted of felony child porn possession. It’s pretty detailed, so if you are especially sensitive to that, you are hereby warned:

Here we go, from the Idaho Statesman newspaper:

The Rev. W. Thomas Faucher, a longtime priest in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Boise who pleaded guilty to five felony crimes, has been sentenced to 25 years in prison without parole and will be required to register as a sex offender.

Faucher, 73, was accused of amassing thousands of child porn images and videos on his home computer — and pleaded guilty in September to sharing some of those images online. He apologized in the courtroom ahead of his sentencing at the Ada County Courthouse in Boise on Thursday.

Horrible, of course. But worse than you can imagine:

The prosecutor called Garden City police officer Detective John Brumbaugh to the stand on Thursday. Brumbaugh, who’s been on the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force for five years, said he received a cybertip that involved two images sent from [email protected] that was linked to the St. Mary’s Catholic Church website.

In the months that followed, Brumbaugh said, his investigation looked at chats and emails that showed Faucher was “actively seeking interests with gay men, satanic interests” and the rape and killing of minors. He also described the contents of the images police found on Faucher’s cellphone, computer and Dropbox account: more than 2,500 files that were sexually exploitative or pornographic with young-looking subjects. The files were described by police as violent, disturbing and torturous, some involving children crying.

And:

In online chats with a person called “Bruno,” Faucher expressed a desire to have sex with boys, Brumbaugh said. Faucher said he had “satanic desires,” an attraction to 6-year-old boys and that “the thought of killing someone does begin to excite me,” according to the detective.

The Satanism is the crown of this sick, sick story:

Other images the detective said the investigation found included depictions of black slavery, which Faucher spoke about using racist language, as well as images of Faucher urinating on a cross and canon law book. Faucher also wrote that he urinated in the wine for Mass at least once, Brumbaugh told the courtroom.

The Catholic Church is going to defrock this monster. The local diocese had Foucher’s house exorcised before selling it. 

Incredibly, Faucher still has a bunch of supporters. This Idaho Statesman story is from earlier this year, after his arrest but before his conviction. Read on:

His legacy as a good shepherd for nearly a half century has been marred by allegations that he collected and traded images of children being sexually abused, and that he talked in chat rooms about wanting to rape and kill children. Investigators said they found the illicit drugs LSD, ecstasy/MDMA and marijuana during a Feb. 2 search of his church-owned home in Northwest Boise.

Prosecutors say he had more than 2,000 child porn images and videos on his computer and cellphone.

More:

Others have offered Faucher support.

“It is fair to say that hundreds of people are supporting Father Faucher because they have been touched and helped by him, his message, his homilies, his good works,” wrote Mike Ellsworth, a longtime friend. “These are people of every background, nationality, religion and profession.”

“People are going to remember the terrible things he did now, and not the great things,” said Henry Krewer, an active octogenarian who taught at Bishop Kelly High School for 20 years and, in 2003, co-founded the homeless day shelter Corpus Christi House.

Krewer got to know Faucher as a parishioner at St. Mary’s Catholic Church. That was Faucher’s childhood church — and the one at which he was pastor before he retired.

“He was a terrific priest, as far as I was concerned. He was a wonderful homilist,” said Krewer, impressed by the priest’s well-crafted sermons. “As I said to my wife, ‘When I die, I’d love to have Tom Faucher do my eulogy.’ “

Some of Faucher’s supporters simply don’t believe it happened at all.

“This type of (computer) ‘hacking’ could happen to any of us at any time, but in this case, it has been sensationalized to tarnish the image of all involved, except the real perpetrator … He would never purposely download these images. This was a setup,” Ellsworth wrote to the Statesman.

And people wonder why it takes so long for victims to work up the courage to come forward!

According to a “newsletter” Faucher sent from jail to his supporters, his culinary life in prison failed to meet his standards:

“I have been asked to write more about the food here. When I told someone that, they said, ‘How can you write more than one word. All the food is c–p,’ [sic],’ ” Faucher wrote on April 15. “It is consistently the worst food I have ever seen or eaten.”

He notes that guards are inconsistent in what time they allow TV viewing, that it is sometimes so quiet that you can hear whoever is talking on the phone and that he sometimes gets bored.

“I am out of things to read, out of things to write, out of a need for rest, and I really have no desire to watch ‘The Hobbit’ one more time,” he wrote in one eight-page missive.

For Father Faucher, it’s All About Him:

“How am I going to deal with the reality that I will be here for at least three more months and then probably here or in prison for the rest of my life,” he wrote April 14. “How am I going to deal with all of that spiritually, emotionally, intellectually and in any other ways.”

“This is my time to make some major decisions about who I want to be and how I want to live in the future. There was a day not too long ago when I would have dealt with all of this with anger, hatred and a desire for revenge. I cannot, will not, let myself go down that path.”

He wrote that he decided to forgive and pray for the prosecutor, the judge and the bishop, who “worked together to keep me in prison.”

Lest we forget what poor Father Faucher was imprisoned for:

Out of more than 2,000 images and videos found on Faucher’s devices, prosecutors selected 21 to charge him. The complaint describes them in sickening detail:

In one video, a 4- to 6-year-old child “yells out in pain and starts crying” as he’s being raped by a “post-pubescent male,” the criminal complaint says.

In another video, two boys who are 10 to 15 years old and wearing hockey masks sexually abuse and pour hot wax on a 10- to 15-year-old girl, who is shackled at the ankles and later subdued with leather handcuffs.

There was also video that depicted bestiality.

As I keep saying, the abuse scandal does not fall along partisan lines within the Church. Both theological liberals and conservatives have been abusers. That said, as a priest, Faucher was audaciously progressive. In 2006, he wrote an op-ed calling for the legalization of same-sex marriage. Excerpt:

The Idaho Legislature has approved a constitutional amendment to define marriage in a manner which will ensure that same-gender “marriage” could never happen in Idaho. The amendment is subject to voter approval in November.

This is at its core an anti-gay movement.

For a Roman Catholic priest to address anything to do with homosexuality at this point in American history is probably not a wise move. The sexual scandals concerning those priests who molested children and the subsequent cover-up of those offenses by some Catholic bishops have seriously damaged the credibility of Catholicism on moral issues. There is too much dirt on the Catholic windows for people to pay much attention to Catholic opinions. At the same time, recent Vatican statements and writings have shown a very strong anti-gay attitude from top church officials.

But I have not always been particularly wise, and this issue calls for some comments to be made about morality and legislation.

In 2010, Fr. Faucher wrote a column calling on Benedict XVI to resign over his handling of child sex abuse by priests, saying that the then-Pope and his circle of advisers “are just not really aware of what is actually going on in many of the places in the world and how strongly felt these issues are,” and that the Pope  “is much too old to lead the church through this mess.”

And yet, look at who Thomas Faucher really was.

I have no doubt at all that the demonic is a core element of the sex abuse scandal. The case of Father Faucher only makes explicit what is always implicit.  What is unnerving is the realization that there exists an international community of men who desire this stuff, and who produce images and video to satisfy those desires. [UPDATE: I removed a couple of lines that in retrospect I fear could be subject to misinterpretation. — RD]

Meanwhile, the pope has some new words on the topic of clerical sex abuse:

Pope Francis on Friday directly addressed perpetrators of clerical sexual abuse, telling them to “convert and hand yourself over to human justice, and prepare for divine justice.”

The Church, Francis said, is “firmly committed to eliminating the evil of abuse, which cries for vengeance to the Lord, to the God who is always mindful of the suffering experienced by many minors because of clerics and consecrated persons: abuses of power and conscience and sexual abuse.”

The pontiff also thanked media personnel who’ve brought such abuses to light.

“I myself would like to give heartfelt thanks to those media professionals who were honest and objective and sought to unmask these predators and to make their victims’ voices heard,” Francis said.

Good words, but only words. Let’s see real and sustained action.

UPDATE: Father Bill Taylor comments:

The priest who alerted you to all of this was not at the trial. I am an old priest and I was there. I also have to say that I try to give people the benefit of the doubt. I am much older than Faucher, and never was a friend, but I did reach out to him when all this started. He solemnly assured me that he had been set up by this mysterious guy in Brazil. He watched a couple of the pictures and put them in the waste bin, or whatever it is called on your computer. He also said the same man sent him drugs, which he put in a drawer and forgot about. This was the story he told again and again to the people who were his followers, including Mike Ellsworth, whom you quote in this article.

So, I attended the sentencing, surrounded by his very sincere followers, including former parishioners from Sisters, Oregon.

The prosecutor began to question the only witness, who displayed emails and descriptions of pictures. For me, it was the most terrifying spiritual time of my life, a descent into hell. The Statesman summarized it well. But to be there, and to see the whole horrifying thing put together, with all the filth and blasphemy, leaves me trembling to this day. I am still half sick to my stomach.

When Faucher was sentenced to twenty-five years, it was a fitting conclusion to something so base and cruel it defies summary. I did not really believe that such a dark underworld exists. I still cannot understand how Faucher entered that place, cheerfully submerging ever more deeply into a cesspool.

Faucher wants us to believe now that he was lost in an alcoholic dementia, and doesn’t remember most of what was revealed to those who loved him. They left shaken and in tears. Some will still support him. I, for one, am determined to visit him in the penitentiary on a regular basis. It will be my mission to get him to admit his guilt and prepare for his meeting with God. I pick up this task in fear and trembling, because I truly believe in the presence of the Evil One, and I will be face to face with one of his followers. So, for me, fasting and prayer.

Thank you, Father. I am genuinely in awe of your mission. I do not have it in me to do that.

 

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. He has written and edited for the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, National Review, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Washington Times, and the Baton Rouge Advocate. Rod’s commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, the Weekly Standard, Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. He has also written four books, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Crunchy Cons, How Dante Can Save Your Life, and The Benedict Option.

leave a comment