A retired Boise priest facing child pornography and drug possession charges has now been accused of sexually abusing a minor, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Boise said in a news release Wednesday.
The Rev. W. Thomas Faucher, 72, was arrested Feb. 2 on 14 charges involving possessing and sharing child pornography, as well as drug possession. All of the charges are felonies except the drug charges. After his arrest, the diocese told the Statesman that it had no record of sexual abuse complaints about Faucher.
The alleged child sexual abuse happened more than 40 years ago, according to the diocese, and this appears to be the first public allegation that Faucher molested a child. Church officials say they have notified the Idaho Attorney General’s Office, as well as an internal Diocesan Review Board that focuses on child abuse claims.
Scott Graf, a spokesman for the Idaho Attorney General’s Office, said it will not comment on investigations.
The person who made the sexual abuse allegation against Faucher wishes to remain anonymous, the diocese said. Gene Fadness, a spokesman for the diocese, declined to say whether the person making the accusation was a parishioner.
Prosecutors have said that they have no reason to believe that any of the children in the images seized from Faucher’s residence during the pornography case are local, though they had not verified all of their identities.
Faucher was arrested on Feb. 2 at the home he rents from the diocese, and church officials are currently trying to evict him. Prosecutors claimed in court last week that investigators found hundreds of images of child pornography, online chats in which Faucher spoke of “desires to rape and kill children,” and drugs including marijuana, ecstasy and LSD.
Faucher was released last Tuesday night after posting $250,000 bond. A judge forbade him from having any contact with children and from using the internet while his case progresses.
Faucher’s attorney, Mark Manweiler, declined to comment Wednesday afternoon on the new claim. Faucher has a preliminary hearing at 8:30 a.m. Thursday at the Ada County Courthouse in Boise.
Within Idaho, Faucher served in Pocatello, American Falls, Emmett and McCall. He has had pastoral assignments in Oregon and Maryland, and outside of the U.S. has served in Scotland and England, according to a short resume formerly posted on the Saint Mary’s Catholic Church website.
Faucher grew up in Boise and attended Saint Mary’s as a child. He was ordained in Boise on June 4, 1971, and returned in 2002 to serve at Saint Mary’s. He joined Saint Mary’s just one month after revelations that a deacon there had viewed child porn.
Faucher long criticized the Catholic Church’s handling of sexual abuse by its priests. Earlier in 2002, while based at Sisters, Oregon, he told one gathering that the church was looking the wrong way at incidents of molested children, and that Cardinal Bernard Law “should resign” for the events eventually documented in the 2015 Oscar-winning movie “Spotlight.”