Priest Sex Scandal

By Erica Mishler
WTHI [Terre Haute IND.]
May 25, 2003

Terre Haute parishoners return to church after their priest is accused of soliciting sex.

Terre Haute priest Ron Ashmore was arrested for public indecency at an interstate rest stop near Plainfield, Indiana late Wednesday night. Until his arrest, 58 year old Ashmore was a priest at St. Margaret Mary Church.

Sunday, that church held it's first services since Ashmore's arrest. Most church-goers preferred not to be interviewed but Action Ten News found one priest, Father John Nasser, who spoke out in Ashmore's defense.

"Father Ron is a honest, sincere, congenial... devoted to his job.. I've never seen anything wrong from Father Jon.. Father Ron."

This retired Eastern Catholic priest believes Father Ashmore was unfairly targeted.

"The media was rushed too much to condemn Father Ron.. why can't we wait till we hear from the court? Why can't we wait till we hear the man defend himself... not a word of that kind. But going to jail my friend.. being arrested.. my friend.. don't forget that Jesus Christ himself was arrested.."

Father Nasser says, guilty or not, Ashmore is entitled to privacy.

"Why do we rush to conclusion? How do you know it happened?"

An undercover police officer maintains he knows exactly what happened that night. The officer says Ashmore propositioned him, asked to join him behind a bathroom, then exposed himself.

But regardless of conviction for Ashmore, the pews at St. Margaret Mary church are still filled, with a substitute leader while their priest awaits his trial.

Ashmore is expected to appear in court next Thursday on charges of public indecency.


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