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May 19

Ex-priest guilty of conspiring to kill boy who accused him of rape

By David Edwards

A former Roman Catholic priest was found guilty on Thursday of hiring a hit man to kill a boy who had accused him of sexual abuse.

John Fiala, 53, showed no emotion as a Dallas jury found him guilty of plotting to kill the boy, according to The Dallas Morning News. He faces a possible sentence of life in prison.

Prosecutors said that Fiala had tried to hire at hit man for $5,000 in November 2010, but the would-be assassin turned out to be an undercover police officer. Video and audio of the meeting were presented to the jury on Wednesday.

The former priest had claimed that he only hired the hit man because he feared for his own life.

“John Fiala is not a puppet,” prosecutor Brandon Birmingham told the jury. “He is a puppeteer.”

Tom Rhodes, an attorney for the accuser, in 2008 said that Fiala had been “grooming” the boy by buying him gifts like a computer and a car. By providing private catechism lessons, the attorney added, the then-priest “gained access to him and began to sexually abuse him once or twice a month, including on church grounds.”

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