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Wednesday, Mar. 25, 1998

Man admits he molested boys while serving as Catholic priest

Associated Press

   DALLAS -- Rudolph Kos admitted Tuesday for the first time that he sexually molested boys while he was working as a Catholic priest, pleading guilty to three of eight counts against him in a state district court in Dallas.
   Kos, 52, entered his plea before testimony began in the molestation trial against the suspended priest.
   The first witness, an 18-year-old former altar boy, gave graphic testimony about how Kos molested him when he was 13.
   Kos could be sentenced to two to 20 years in prison for pleading guilty to one count of sexual assault of a child and two of indecency with a child. Prosecutors are seeking convictions on three counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child and two remaining indecency counts.
   All eight counts involve four young men who told police they were molested about 1,350 times.
   Defense attorney Brad Lollar said the pleas ``do reflect the facts of the matter. He believes he is guilty of three of the eight indictments.'' He would not say why the pleas were changed from innocent, but he said the change had been planned.
   In his opening statement, prosecutor Howard Blackman told jurors that Kos abused the power of the priesthood to prey on the altar boys.
   ``He assumed control of the altar servers and turned this program into a flesh pool into which he recruited his victims,'' Blackman said. ``Evidence will show how this man, who was supposed to be their spiritual guide, used them for his own selfish sexual gratification.''
   In a civil trial last summer, a Dallas County jury returned a $119.6 million verdict against Kos and the diocese in a lawsuit filed by 11 men who alleged they, as boys, were molested by Kos as the diocese covered up for him. The verdict was the largest monetary judgment of any clergy sex-abuse case in U.S. history.
   The lawsuit alleged that Kos molested altar boys over more than a decade and that church officials knew about the problem and covered it up.

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