William Edward Hughes, also known as Father Vasilli, received the maximum sentence on four counts of sexual assault of a child on Wednesday, October 24, 2007. He will serve four 20-year sentences consecutively.
Hughes was among the monks arrested during a raid of the Christ of the Hills Monastery, located at 2434 Trainer-Wuest Road in Blanco. Hughes, along with Walter Paul Christley and Hugh Brian Fallon, was arrested on site, and later, Samuel Alexander Greene, Jr., who was convicted in 2000 and out on probation, and Johathan Irving Hitt, who was in prison on a previous conviction, were all indicted for sexual assault of a child and organized criminal activity/sexual assault of a child, with Greene indicted for an additional charge of sexual performance of a child. Additional charges of indecency with a child/sexual contact, possession of child pornography, and improper photography or visual recording were included during their indictment.
Hughes was convicted Wednesday night of sex crimes against two victims, who are now adults. One of them, James Wright, came forward outside of court with an emotional statement. He said the ex-monks took advantage of children who were trying to do good work in God's name. Prosecutors say Hughes molested the boys who were in training at the Christ of the Hills Monastery in the late 1990s.
District Attorney Sam Oatman was quoted early as saying, "People would allow their sons to become novices there and as far back as 1999, at least, monks were pretty active in bringing young boys there abusing their influence to abuse them sexually."
Eddie Shell, Hughes' attorney, said he was disappointed in the sentence, but the jury has spoken and he accepts what they have said.
There are four other former monks facing similar charges. One, Jonathan Hitt, is currently in prison. The leader, Sam Greene, committed suicide four weeks ago. Trials for the final two accused former monks are pending in Blanco District Court.