Wayland Brown, a former Catholic priest accused of sex crimes against children, remains locked up in Jasper County following a bond hearing Friday.
Brown, accused of sexually assaulting two boys at different locations in Jasper County during the late ’70s and early and late ’80s, waived his right to bond during the hearing, according to a news release from the 14th Circuit Solicitor’s Duffie Stone’s office.
Last month, a Jasper County grand jury handed down nine indictments against the 73-year-old Brown alleging first-degree criminal sexual conduct and second-degree criminal sexual conduct.
“As the prosecution prepares Brown’s case for trial, (he remains) housed at the Jasper County Detention Center,” according to the solicitor’s office release.
The indictments allege that during the school years of 1979, 1980, 1981, 1987 and 1988, Brown, then a priest at St. James Catholic Church and School in Savannah, took the two children, who were students at the school, to Jasper County on occasions and sexually assaulted them.
During an August news conference, 14th Circuit Solicitor Duffie Stone said if Brown is convicted of the charges, he could serve 20 years on the second-degree criminal sexual conduct charge and 25 years to life if convicted on the first-degree criminal sexual conduct charge.
This is not the first accusation of sexual abuse presented against Brown.
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Savannah paid $4.5 million last year to settle a lawsuit filed against Brown after allegations that he sexually abused a 13-year-old boy in Jasper County multiple times between August 1987 and May 1988.
“Brown transported (the victim) by vehicle to Jasper County, South Carolina, where (he) coerced the minor into sexual touching and intercourse,” according to the suit.
The alleged victim was also a student at St. James, according to the lawsuit.
During encounters with the victim, Brown “presented himself as a priest, engaging the plaintiff in religious prayer and counseling while wearing the vestments of the church,” the suit said.
To keep the victim quiet about the abuse, Brown threatened the boy’s “family members with eternal condemnation if (he) disclosed the sexual encounters,” the suit alleged.
Court documents explain the long gap between the alleged incidents and of the filing of the lawsuit, saying the abuse caused “severe psychological trauma and memory repression.”
Those repressed memories surfaced during “psychological therapy in November 2014,” the suit says.
The lawsuit — which names Brown, the diocese, as well as past and current church leaders as defendants — alleges a host of incidents of misconduct and abuse by Brown against children stretching back nearly 50 years.
Church leaders “knew or should have known that (Brown) was a danger to the plaintiff” and “knew that Brown was not safe and fit to be a priest,” according to the suit.
Brown was removed from “active ministry” in 1988, according to a statement released last year by the Diocese of Savannah.
In 2004, a decree from the Vatican imposed laicization upon Brown. Laicization is a process used by the Catholic Church to formally defrock a member of the clergy.
In addition to the lawsuit, Brown was convicted of child molestation in Maryland in 2003 and registered as a sex offender. He served five years of a 10-year sentence for that crime, according to Maryland court records.