Monastery offers ‘regret’ about sex charge
ASPEN – The abbot of St. Benedict’s Monastery in Old Snowmass issued a statement Thursday regarding allegations that a former monk-in-training sexually assaulted an adolescent boy in the early part of last decade.
And in a related development Thursday, Chief Deputy District Attorney Arnold Mordkin filed one count of sexual assault on a child – position of trust – pattern of abuse, against 72-year-old suspect Wilfred Laurent Carignan.
“The monks and I very much regret the situation regarding Wilfred Carignan and we are praying for everyone involved,” said Father Joseph Boyle in a prepared statement. “None of the accusations against Carignan are connected with the time he spent at St. Benedict’s Abbey. We are committed to doing everything we can to prevent sexual abuse and exploitation of minors and pray for all victims and their families.”
Carignan worked at the monastery from 1996 to 2001. He was the facility’s beekeeper and was not accepted as a monk, a position for which he was training. Law enforcement officials say he sexually assaulted a boy, believed to be aged 10 or 11 at the time, at his home near the monastery.
“… on or between January 1, 2001 and July 10, 2003 … Wilfred Laurent Carignan unlawfully, feloniously, and knowingly subjected [the alleged victim] … to sexual contact and the victim was less than eighteen years of the age and the defendant was in a position of trust with respect to the victim,” Mordkin’s charge says.
Carignan currently is incarcerated in the Fremont Correctional Facility in Canon City on two felony convictions of sexual assault of a child. He was arrested in California in February 2008, following the issuance of a warrant in 2003 out of Delta County, according to court records.
He had been wanted for molesting boys between the ages of 8 and 18 years old in the Hotchkiss area. Carignan was convicted on two counts of sexual assault of a child and was sentenced to separate prison sentences of six and eight years to life in state prison in September 2008. He is eligible for parole on Aug. 29, 2016, according to records from the Department of Corrections.
On April 6, Carignan, while in custody, was detained and advised of his rights concerning the Pitkin County charge. He is scheduled to appear in court in Aspen Monday to face the new charge.
He faces four to 12 years in the Department of Corrections if convicted. There is no statute of limitations in the state of Colorado for sex offenses against children.
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