Friday, November 8, 2002

Remember the priest arrested for drug involvement earlier this year? No, no, no - not the one down in Pensacola who used his Bourbon Street condo as a base for purchasing Ecstasy for resale back in the Panhandle. No, not that one. The other one - the one from Illinois arrested for helping to manufacture GHB or the "date rape" drug. You remember. Well, he was sentenced yesterday - to 70 months in prison.

Rev. Windy, the former pastor of St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Sheffield and of St. Margaret's Catholic Church in Wyanet, had more than 100 letters from his parishioners, friends and family submitted to Judge Vietor on his behalf. Judge Vietor allowed Rev. Windy to address the court before sentencing. He started reading from a prepared statement but broke down crying before he could finish. ``My childhood dreams have now been shattered,'' he read before stopping and sobbing uncontrollably. Some of his supporters in the crowd also started crying. Rev. Windy's attorney, Doug Scovil, read the rest of the prepared statement. In it, Rev. Windy said he didn't know how much impact he had on people's lives until he was in trouble with the law. ``This is truly a nightmare for everyone,'' said Mr. Scovil while reading from the priest's statement. ``The last 10 months have been the darkest of my life. My fate as a priest is still to be determined after this is over.''

Mr. Scovil said Rev. Windy first got addicted to the drug when he was using it as a body-building supplement. He said Rev. Windy was an avid weight lifter who accidentally became addicted to GHB. During a brief statement to Judge Vietor, Mr. O'Brien said the men never used the drug with the intent to commit rape. He said the drug was legal when he first started using it in March 2000, and that he later became addicted.

In his statement, Rev. Windy apologized for his actions but said he didn't agree with the federal court's use of sentencing guidelines instead of the judge's discretion to decide the sentence. He faced 70 to 87 months in prison under those guidelines. Rev. Windy also bashed the media for focusing on his case, claiming they unfairly hold priests to a higher standard. Shortly before that, Rev. Windy admitted he embarrassed his parishioners and other members of the Catholic church with his actions. Many of Rev. Windy's actions were detailed in a 10-page document that was inadvertently filed in court in September. The document, sealed a day after it was filed, was in response to the pre-sentence investigation for the priest. In the document, Mr. Scovil said the priest allowed Mr. O'Brien to make the drug at the church rectory. Records from Barton Solvents in Bettendorf show it sold 25 gallons of GBL, a chemical used to make GHB, to St. Patrick's, according to court documents. Those records specifically refer to Rev. Windy. In the document, Rev. Windy said he attended parties at Mr. O'Brien's home in Davenport in March, September and November 2001. According to a timeline contained in the document, Rev. Windy became addicted to GHB and cocaine supplied by Mr. O'Brien. The timeline said that in December 2000, Mr. O'Brien told Rev. Windy he lost his job at a shoe company that allowed him to acquire a chemical used to make GHB. It said that if the minister did not allow them to make GHB in the church rectory, Mr. O'Brien planned to tell Rev. Windy's superiors in the church about his use of cocaine and GHB. In the documents, Rev. Windy admitted adding chemicals to make GHB on one occasion, but was unsuccessful.

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