It took four attempts to hand-deliver the eviction notice, but the Rev. W. Thomas Faucher received official word Feb. 13 that he must move out of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Boise house that he leases by mid-April, according to the priest who delivered it.
“We gave him 60 days notice that he must vacate,” said the Rev. John Worster, pastor of Saint Mary’s Catholic Church.
The move to evict the 72-year-old priest came on the heels of his Feb. 2 arrest on child porn and drug possession charges. Faucher’s neighbors have expressed outrage and fear about him continuing to live in a house on West Holly Hill Drive, near Cynthia Mann Elementary School.
Last week, someone came forward to accuse Faucher of committing child sexual abuse about 40 years ago. It appears to be the first public accusation made against Faucher; the diocese said it had not previously received any complaints of sexual misconduct. In a statement posted online Monday, the Diocese of Baker, Ore., said it had no complaints of misconduct by Faucher on record. Faucher worked there in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
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Worster said Faucher has been living at the house near Hill Road for about 15 years, but has been leasing it from the church since retiring in 2015.
“It is the biggest home that we own,” said Worster, noting that over the years ramps and railings have been added to help Faucher as he’s faced mobility issues. He uses a walker and/or wheelchair to get around.
Where will Faucher go? Mark Manweiler, Faucher’s attorney, declined to comment on the eviction Wednesday.
Faucher has two older brothers, but it’s unclear whether either lives in Ada County, where Faucher must stay as part of the conditions of his release from the Ada County Jail. He posted $250,000 bond after five days in jail.
Worster said one housing option, if Bishop Peter Christensen approves, would be the St. John Vianney Retirement Center. Retired and active priests are living in half of the eight units at the residence at 4420 N. Five Mile Road. He said rent there is $850 a month, and it includes five meals a week.
The Catholic Church provides active priests with parsonage, which is a church-owned house to live in. Once retired, the church has no such housing obligation, Worster said.
“He’s primarily responsible for arranging his own housing,” Worster said.
But church officials said they were aware that families in the community see Faucher as a threat, so they were looking at housing options.
Worster said delivering the eviction notice to Faucher was difficult – and not just because they had trouble connecting with him.
“My staff members have been deeply distressed by these events,” Worster said. “Because we are so repulsed by what he’s accused of, serving these papers was difficult. We don’t want any of this to be true. We don’t want this to be the end of Father Faucher’s career.”
Faucher is a Boise native. He and his family were parishioners at Saint Mary’s. He was ordained in 1971, and he served at churches in Pocatello, American Falls, Emmett, McCall, Cascade, Council, Boise and Sisters, Oregon. He was also an administrator for a parish in Scotland and an instructor at a sabbatical center in England. He retired in 2015 but remained active at Saint Mary’s.
In its statement Monday, the Diocese of Baker urged forgiveness.
“The behavior Father Faucher engaged in is inexcusable, and it now lies open for all to see,” the diocese said. “There is no more hiding from the truth – the tragic, disheartening, dispiriting truth. Yet our Redeemer assures us that the truth will set us free. At this late hour in his life Father Faucher stands in great need, not of a good excuse, but of forgiveness for his sins. Let us pray that God grant hi grace to stand in the light of truth, to repent, and to find mercy.”
The Rev. Richard Fischer, vicar general of the Diocese of Baker, said no one has come forward with allegations of abuse since a letter about Faucher’s Boise charges was read to parishioners at Saint Edward the Martyr Catholic Church in Sisters last Sunday.
Faucher’s preliminary hearing on the charges that led to his arrest was scheduled for Feb. 15, but it was continued to 8:30 a.m. March 13 before Judge Russell Comstock at the Ada County Courthouse.