Former Catholic Priest Wayland Brown was sentenced Tuesday to 20 years in prison in South Carolina for raping boys from a middle school four decades ago.
The 76-year-old wore his priest collar while raping the boys, then prayed the rosary with them.
The investigation into Priest Brown started in 2016 when the Diocese of Savannah paid $4.5 million to settle a lawsuit by a man who said Brown sexually abused him.
Solicitor Duffie Stone says:
"He not only violated the trust of children, but violated their faith. He used the Catholic faith against them.
Priest Brown already served five years of a 10-year sentence in Maryland for sexually abusing two other boys. Pope John Paul II dismissed him from the priesthood after that 2004 conviction.
Priest Brown's guilty plea comes as the Roman Catholic Church in the United States is under increased scrutiny for its handling of sex abuse cases. A Pennsylvania grand jury report in August found about 300 Catholic priests had abused more than 1,000 children statewide since the 1940s. Federal investigators are taking a closer look at those cases to see if church leaders covered up for abusive priests.
In South Carolina, Priest Brown faced up to 210 years in prison on the nine counts of criminal sexual conduct with a minor.
Priest Brown molested the boys while they attended St. James Catholic School in Savannah. He attacked them in a church and abandoned train depot in Hardeeville as well as other places.
After raping them, Priest Brown told the boys they faced eternal condemnation for them and their families if they told anyone.