On February 2, 2018, Fr. W. Thomas Faucher, a retired priest from St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Boise, Idaho, who had fought against child sex abuse in the Catholic church, was arrested and booked into the Ada County Jail — charged with ten counts of sexual exploitation of children, two counts of distributing sexually exploitative material involving minors, and with drug possession.
According to a prosecutor, in email and chat conversations viewed by investigators, Faucher had expressed a desire to “rape and kill children”.
After receiving a tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, authorities obtained a warrant to search Faucher’s rented home, where they found hundreds of images of young children subjected to sexual acts, as well as marijuana, LSD and ecstasy.
A judge set Faucher’s bail at $250,000 during the arraignment hearing, ordered Faucher to have no contact with children, and barred him from accessing the internet.
But his attorney, Mark Manweiler, pressed for Faucher’s release, arguing that despite having been around “tens of thousands” of children in the priest’s more than 40-year career, there has never been a claim of abuse or impropriety — “He is well-liked and well-known. He counts among his good friends people at the highest level of both branches, both of state government and our local government and some judicial officials here in Ada County.”
Bishop Peter Christensen of the Diocese of Boise said he was “absolutely stunned” and deeply disturbed by Faucher’s arrest and the evidence collected by law enforcement. Christensen said the Diocese has never received similar complaints regarding Fr. Faucher, and that if the Diocese had, it would have immediately contacted law enforcement officials. The bishop also encouraged victims of child sexual abuse to come forward and report to law enforcement officials and the Diocesan Safe Environment and Victim Assistance at 208-350-7556.
As a priest, Faucher had hypocritically fought against the sexual abuse of children by priests, as well as taken a liberal position on a whole host of issues. He spoke out against the death penalty, supported same-sex marriage, urged for greater recognition of women in the church, and called for “immigration reform”.
Update (April 18, 2018):
WFMY CBS2 reports that on April 13, 2018, Prosecutor Kassandra Slaven quoted Thomas Faucher’s words in online chats about the “journey” that he has taken down “the path to Satan” and his desire to hurt others before the end of his life:
“Yes, I want to do something truly evil before I die. The thought of killing someone does begin to excite me.”
Slaven urged Judge Jason Scott to weigh Faucher’s own words in the chat logs to decide whether or not to lower the priest’s bond. Slaven said the priest “talks about wanting to rape teenage boys – those are his words. He talks about being turned on by a baby’s scream – those are his words. He encourages the person with which he is chatting to rape and kill a boy. He talks about his own desire to rape and kill children.”
In another chat conversation, Slaven said, Faucher discusses whether he should poison a neighbor child’s dog, writing that no one would suspect “the old wonderful priest neighbor.”
The violent files recovered from Faucher’s computers were among the most horrific Idaho’s Internet Crimes Against Children task force had ever encountered, Slaven said. In addition to the pictures and videos showing children being tortured and abused, investigators also found files showing animals being hurt and killed and an actual snuff film — a recording of the real rape and murder of a woman.