published Tuesday, July 12th, 2011

Judge denies delay request in trial of former local priest

BLOUNTVILLE, Tenn. — A judge in Blountville denied a defense attempt to delay a child molestation trial Monday because of the public reaction to jurors who acquitted Casey Anthony of a murder charge in Florida.

An eight-man six-woman jury was seated to hear the trial of a former East Tennessee priest charged with molesting a youth who served as an altar boy.

William Casey, 77, a retired Catholic priest who lives in Greeneville, is charged with committing the crimes while serving as priest for St. Dominic’s Catholic Church in Kingsport in the 1970s.

Warren Tucker, 46, of Jeffersonville, Ind., has gone public with his claims that Casey molested him as a youth.

Defense attorney Rick Spivey argued Monday morning that the “vilification” of jurors who acquitted Anthony last week in the death of her 2-year-old daughter make this an inappropriate time to try Casey. Sullivan County Criminal Court Judge Robert Montgomery denied Spivey’s request.

The former cleric was indicted on two counts of aggravated rape and one count of first-degree sexual misconduct.

Tucker filed a police complaint against Casey in April 2010 with the Kingsport Police Department. A Sullivan County grand jury indicted Casey in August 2010.

Similar charges against Casey were filed in two other states after complaints by Tucker.

Casey pleaded guilty to charges in McDowell County, N.C. Charges against him are pending in Scott County, Va.

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