Colorado Springs News, Sports & Business

Gazette Premium Content Springs priest allegedly supplied teens with drugs

MATT STEINER Updated: June 1, 2012 at 12:00 am

A Colorado Springs Catholic priest allegedly had sexual contact with a 16-year-old, provided the teenage boy with alcohol and marijuana and posted shirtless photos of the boy on Facebook, according to an arrest affidavit released Thursday.

Colorado Springs police officer Terry Thrumston described in the affidavit instances where Charles Robert Manning allegedly kissed the boy on the lips and performed other sexual acts before apologizing, saying "I'm sorry. I know you didn't want to do that."

Thrumston had been contacted Oct. 21, 2011 by a woman, who had received information about Manning, who recently retired from St. Gabriel the Archangel Catholic Church in Colorado Springs, from the 16-year-old's sister, the court document said.

According to the affidavit, the boy told a detective that Manning had him call him "grandfather" and that all sexual contact between him and Manning happened "within in the last three months he lived in Colorado, starting in June or July 2011."

The boy's sister told a Safe Passage Children's Advocacy Center investigator that her brother had left the state and went to live with his father "because of Father Manning."

The boy told the detective that Father Manning smoked marijuana and drank alcohol with him and a friend on multiple occasions. He described instances when the priest made "screwdrivers" with Grey Goose vodka and orange juice and then, on one occasion, offered the boy $100 to dance for him. He danced and accepted the money, the affidavit said.

The affidavit said Father Manning first met the boy in October 2009 when he was 14 years old.

The boy told the detective that he had been interested in becoming Catholic and contacted Manning at the church.

Manning said the boy was "far too advanced intellectually" for a Catholic orientation class designed for young children and offered to give the boy private classes in his office. The affidavit said sexual contact between the two happened in Manning's office.

From the time they met until the boy left Colorado in 2011, Manning had given the youth several gifts, including a vehicle that cost $3,500, a laptop computer, a pair of watches and two silver rings "for no particular reason," the boy told the detective.

The priest also allegedly made an offer to the boy, saying "Hey, want to get your nipples pierced today?" the affidavit said.

The boy said Manning and the youth then went to Shrap Metal Tattoo on Parker Street in Colorado Springs, where the priest signed as the minor's guardian, calling himself his grandfather.

The affidavit said officer Thrumston executed a search warrant on Jan. 17 of this year, finding the vodka, drug paraphernalia, a computer later found to contain pornography, a framed photo of the victim and marijuana hidden inside an X-Box 360.

Manning, 77, was charged in court Thursday on suspicion on one count of sexual assault by one in a position of trust and two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

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