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Saturday, May 28, 2022

Convicted former ascetic will not face trial in second sexual abuse case

GREENWOOD, Miss. ( Associated Press) — Mississippi prosecutors have dropped a second set of charges against a former Franciscan friar who was convicted last month of sexually assaulting a student during the 1990s at a Catholic school.

Paul West, 62, received a 45-year sentence on April 13 and is at the Central Mississippi Correctional Facility.

He was to be tried on Tuesday for sexually assaulting another student at St. Francis of Assisi School in Greenwood during the 1990s.

Greenwood Commonwealth reported that the Mississippi Attorney General’s office submitted an order dropping the second set of charges because he was convicted on the first set. Circuit Judge Ashley Hines approved the order.

As first reported by The Associated Press in 2019, La Jarvis Love, now 39, and her cousin, Joshua Love, now 38, accused West of multiple instances of sexual abuse while they were at that school. where West was a physical education teacher. before becoming principal

During a two-day trial last month, a Lefloor County jury deliberated less than an hour before indicting West on one count of sexual battery and one count of gratification of lust against La Jarvis Love.

Both loves testified to repeated abuse by West when they were in fourth grade. He testified that the abuse occurred at school and on visits to New York and Wisconsin, where Franciscan friars of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary are based. Was a member of the Western religious system.

A third person, Joshua Love’s younger brother, Rafael Love, also alleged that West sexually abused him. He reported the abuse to church officials in 1998, after which West returned to Wisconsin and left the order. West has not been charged with abusing Rafael Love.

West did not comment after pleading guilty last month and relied on a walker.

West has been held in the Leflore County Jail in Mississippi since September 2020, when he was extradited from his home state of Wisconsin to face charges. Shortly after returning to Mississippi, he pleaded not guilty to all charges, including one count of sexual battery and one count of lust gratification against Joshua Love – charges dropped this month.

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