Friday, February 13, 2009 brought the final conviction in the case against the former Christ of the Hills Monastery monks. Jonathan Irving Hitt, aka Father Jeremiah, pleaded guilty to sexual assault, and accepted a plea deal. 424th District Court Judge Dan Mills sentenced Hitt to 1,191 days in jail, with credit for the 925 days he has served since his indictment. The new sentence will end on October 26, 2009, the same expiration date as Hitt's 10-year sentence from 1999 for the conviction of eight counts of indecency with an 11-year-old boy in 1997.
The conviction concludes a decade of investigation, discovery, and trials that began when Blanco County Sheriff William Elsbury headed an investigation that led to the conviction of Hitt and Samuel Greene, also known as Father Benedict, founder and leader of the monastery, for sexual misconduct with a young boy. Hitt was sent to prison, and Greene received 10 years probation and was ordered to pay $10,000.
Seven years later, in 2006, Greene confessed to his probation officer in a taped interview that he had sexual contact with boys over a 30-year period starting in the 1970’s, according to court documents. He also implicated four of his fellow monks, stating that they had participated in the misconduct in the 1990’s.
The four others were: Williams Edward Hughes, Walter Paul Christley, Hugh Brian Fallon, and Jonathan Hitt, who was still incarcerated at that time on the earlier conviction.
On October 24, 2007, William Hughes received the maximum sentence on four counts of sexual assault of a child. He is currently serving four 20-year sentences consecutively and was issued a $40,000 fine.
Walter Christley, pleaded guilty to sexual assault of a 16-year-old novice in 1994 and was sentenced to 10 years deferred adjudication and a $2,000 fine.
Hugh Fallon received deferred adjudication in exchange for a guilty plea to a reduced charge of attempted aggravated assault, for which he was fined $5,000 and sentenced to five years probation.
Samuel Greene, who faced up to 180 years in prison for alleged probation violations, committed suicide by a prescription pill overdose on September 16, 2007.