Former Savannah Priest Accused of Sexual Abuse

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A Jasper County grand jury has indicted a former Catholic priest for the alleged sexual abuse of two children during the late 70s and early 80s while he served in a Savannah church.

The person accused is 74-year-old Wayland Brown, a former parish priest at St. James Catholic School in Savannah, according to a news release.

Isaac McDuffie Stone lll is the Solicitor of the Fourteenth Circuit in South Carolina. He was joined Monday by Chatham County District Attorney Meg Heap in a joint press conference.

“He took two children who were students at the St. James Catholic School at separate times into Jasper County and sexually assaulted them,” said Stone.

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One of those victims was Christopher Templeton.

“He had raped me at my parents’ house. He showed up right before my mom was going to get my two little sisters’ carpool. He knew that she would be leaving at that time and he said he would sit with me and he raped me on my parents’ couch,” said Templton.

The abuse is alleged to have taken place at several Jasper locations, including a remote railroad crossing, the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge and the St. James Catholic School.

Templeton says he was raped upwards of 70 times from what he can recall.

“We always said the rosary after. Many of times I would do confession after; we prayed after every time,” said Templeton.

Mark Tate is an attorney that represented Templeton in his civil case.

“He raped children everywhere he was. He resides in Maryland, where he has done time in Maryland for being a child rapist,” said Tate.

Templeton says he is looking towards the future.

“You know, today, with the arrest, I believe, is the start of a victory to reach out to other victims,” said Templeton.

Fox 28 reached out to the Savannah Diocese for comment on Brown’s indictment. They released this statement:

“The diocese was aware of allegations against Wayland Brown in South Carolina in the past, but we have not been informed of this latest action.”

But, according to a documents obtained by Fox 28, in a press release dated March 20, 2015, the Savannah Diocese said this:

“The Diocese of Savannah had no prior knowledge that Wayland Brown had abused children at the time periods referenced over 30 years ago. In 1987, Wayland Brown was assigned to St. James parish in Savannah and at that time there were no allegations of sexual abuse against him.”

This statement is refuted by Tate.

“In 1986, a full year before my client was kidnapped and raped, the diocese and the bishop were approached by police officers from Augusta, Georgia, and from Moultrie Georgia accusing Wayland Brown in engaging in child molestation,” said Tate

Nine indictments were handed down Thursday by a Jasper County grand jury, the release said.

Those followed more than year of investigation by the Solicitor’s Office and the Chatham District Attorney’s Office.

Brown will be tried in Jasper County because South Carolina, unlike Georgia and federal courts, does not have a statute of limitations on child sexual assault cases, the release continued.

Brown is currently being held in Baltimore, Maryland, awaiting extradition to South Carolina.

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