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home : current news : current news November 19, 2018

2/20/2018 2:52:00 PM
Former priest charged for pornography
By Jim Cornelius
News Editor

Rev. W. Thomas Faucher, 72, who served as parish priest at St. Edward the Martyr Catholic Church in Sisters for six years ending in 2002, was arrested on February 2 in Boise, Idaho, on multiple charges involving child pornography and drugs.

The Idaho Statesman reported on February 5 that Faucher, now retired, "is charged with 10 counts of sexual exploitation of a child, and two counts of distributing sexually exploitative material involving children. His last two charges are both for drug possession. All of the charges are felonies except for both drug counts."

Faucher was arrested on a warrant from the Idaho Attorney General's Office, and a search warrant was served on his home in Boise, which he rents from the Catholic Church.

According to the Statesman report, "Ada County Deputy Prosecutor Kassandra Slaven ... said some images on Faucher's computer involved young children, including infants and toddlers. The images included children being subjected to different sexual acts and torture, she said.

"Slaven also described email conversations where Faucher reportedly traded images and talked about his 'sexual interest in children.' She said Faucher has a 'very sophisticated knowledge' of exchanging and viewing child pornography. And in certain chats investigators viewed, she said, he expressed a desire to molest children. One such chat screen was open on his computer when police served the search warrant, she said."

Faucher was held on $250,000 bail, which he has subsequently posted to obtain release. Faucher's attorney Mark Manweiler argued for his release citing a lack of any criminal record and an "impeccable reputation," the Statesman reports.

Faucher arrived in Sisters in 1996 to become parish priest at St. Edward the Martyr Catholic Church, which at that time had been without a priest for 2-1/2 years. Faucher was "on loan" from Boise. He stayed in Sisters for six years. During that time, he doubled the number of families attending the parish and oversaw the creation of St. Winifred's Garden and a building addition.

When the national scandal involving sexual abuse in the church broke in 2002, Father Faucher led some 70 people in a deep and sometimes emotional discussion of the matter. As The Nugget reported at the time, Faucher "emphasized the need for reform in the church. He argued that there is something systematically wrong with the way the church handled cases of molestation by priests.

"Every time abuse occurred, it was looked at as an exceptional case," Faucher said. "When you look at something that happens over and over again as an exceptional case, then somebody is not looking at things right."

Faucher noted, the church often focused far more of its concern on the molesting priest than on the victim.

"This was the biggest mistake the church made," Faucher said. "We tended to focus all our attention and all our concern on the priest who did it, not on the person who was violated."

The Idaho Statesman has also reported, "Until his recent arrest, Catholic Church officials say they didn't investigate any complaints about the Rev. W. Thomas Faucher because they had none."

In the wake of the arrest, however, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Boise reported that Faucher has now been accused of sexually abusing a minor more than 40 years ago.

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