Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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February 6, 2014

Court sentences ‘brother’ to prison for soliciting a minor

WELCH — A “brother” in the SVD “Society of the Divine Word,” an order that takes a vow of poverty, celibacy and obedience, was sentenced to 2-10 years in prison for soliciting of a minor by computer.

Brother Charles Rogers Hannan Jr., 65, of Gary, had been working at St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Welch since 2001, according to statements he made in court on Wednesday. Hannan appeared before McDowell County Circuit Court Judge Booker T. Stephens.

Hannan explained that he met the young female while recruiting actors to appear in a local production and continued his contact with her via email. The relation came to an end when the girl’s parents confronted Hannan.

Hannan’s defense counsel Thomas Evans asked the court to sentence his client to probation, but Stephens said that would set the wrong precedent.

“Let them know that in McDowell County, you cannot do this,” Stephens said. “You’re going to prison. There’s no probation here.” Stephens said that if he gave Hannan probation, other criminals who had committed similar crimes would expect the same sentence.

— Contact Bill Archer at barcher@bdtonline.com

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