Four Monks Plead Not Guilty to Sexual Assault of a Child
July 31, 2006
Johnson City, Texas Three monks pleaded not guilty in court today to charges of sexual assault of a child and organized criminal activity at a Hill Country monastery.
The monks were charged last week after a raid at the Christ of the Hills Monastery, near Blanco.
The indictments relate to the alleged assault of a teenage boy starting in 1993.
The founder of the Eastern Orthodox Christian monastery is free on his own recognizance due to health problems. Blanco County District Attorney Sam Oatman says Samuel Greene waived his right to an arraignment and didn't appear in court today in Johnson City -- but he also pleaded not guilty.
A fifth man -- Jonathan Hitt -- already is serving a ten-year prison sentence for a 1999 conviction for indecency with a 14-year-old novice monk studying at the monastery in 1997. Oatman said Hitt hasn't entered a plea on the new charges.
Oatman has said there also could be charges brought relating to the monastery's big draw, an image of the Virgin Mary that's been said to cry tears of myrrh.
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