Priest turned school counselor faces fourth charge

Sunday, June 16, 2002

ST. LOUIS -- A state grand jury has added a fourth count of sexual misconduct involving a minor to the list of charges faced by a defrocked Roman Catholic priest turned school counselor who was arrested in March.

The grand jury returned a formal indictment against James Beine, 60, on Friday, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. Prosecutors said Beine, who also went by the name Mar James, exposed himself to three boys in the restroom of a St. Louis elementary school.

Having identified two victims, prosecutors in March charged Beine with three sexual misconduct counts. The fourth count was added after the discovery of an additional victim, officials said.

Beine resigned his position as an elementary school counselor for the St. Louis Public Schools shortly after the district learned the Archdiocese of St. Louis had paid $110,000 to settle lawsuits that accused him of sexually abusing two boys while he was a priest.

Beine's arrest on the sexual misconduct charges came a week after his resignation.

The archdiocese removed Beine from the ministry in 1977 over allegations of sexual abuse. He was hired by the city schools in 1991.

Officials have not set an arraignment date for Beine, who remains held in lieu of $100,000 bond. Last month, St. Louis Associate Circuit Judge Iris Ferguson denied a request made by Beine's attorney to reduce his bail.

The attorney, James M. Martin, said Beine is being held on an "unreasonable bail" and pledged to again seek a reduction. That request will include a proposal Beine wear an electronic bracelet that would allow authorities to track him.

"You can't prepare for trial when you're in the can," Martin said. "We need to get him out of there."

Along with the state counts, Beine also faces a federal charge of possession of child pornography.

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