Priest Who Ran Archbishop Ryan Heads to Prison

"He groomed my son for abuse," one parent said at Fr. Newman's sentencing.

Father Charles Newman was sentenced Friday to three to six years in prison. He admitted stealing nearly one million dollars when he was principal of Archbishop Ryan High School, the largest Roman Catholic high school in Philadelphia.

But prosecutors and some parents believe Newman used most of the money covering up a much more deviant crime-- they say buying the silence of boys he molested.

"He groomed my son for abuse," Arthur Baselice, Jr., lashed out in court. His wife looked Newman in the eye and called him "the devil," according to KYW radio. A short time later, she ran sobbing from the courtroom.

Baselice says Father Newman gave his son drugs and alcohol and sexually assaulted him. Newman did admit having sex with Arthur Baselice III, but says it happened after the student was 18. Baselice's parents blame Newman for the years of psychological problems they say their son wrestled with and ultimately, for his death. Baselice died of a drug overdose when he was 28.

Newman never faced molestation charges. Prosecutors say either the statute of limitations ran out for victims to come forward, or victims refused to talk.

Newman became president of Archbishop Ryan in July 2002. He was fired 15 months later when questions came up about the way he was handling school finances.

More than 40 diocesan priests in the Philadelphia Archdiocese have been credibly accused of abusing minors over the last fifty years, according to the Archdiocese. SNAP, the Survivors Network for those Abused by Priests, keeps that list on its Web site. 

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