Catholic priest Father Vincent Inametti, 48, has a particularly hands on approach to ministering to the faithful. Inametti was chaplain at a women’s prison in Texas when he used the position to have sex with two women. He will now serve two years in prison. The Vatican may be equally peeved given the fact that he is not supposed to be having sex with anyone.
A naturalized citizen from Nigeria, Inametti worked at Federal Medical Center Carswell in Fort Worth for seven years. He pleaded guilty in November to two counts of sexual abuse of a ward — an interesting choice of charges.
Both women were serving federal sentences for drugs. One was in the choir and Bible study classes, while the other was his clerk.
Inametti’s work in prison had been covered by the media, as here.
U.S. District Judge Terry Means noted that “For this he will face a higher authority than this one.” Isn’t that double jeopardy?
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18 thoughts on “Laying Hands Upon the Faithful: Catholic Priest Gets Jail Time for Sex With Inmates”
This is messed-up.
11 year sentence for possession with intent to distribute cocaine vs 12 year 7 month sentence for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute MARIJUANA!
Big Pharma distributes far more lethal crap than this daily.
Oh! Wait a minute. Compete with pharmaceuticals and do the time.
Well on your last comment, we certainly agree.
You lawyers are all about money! I bet you’d represent me against JT for having a blog where someone disagreed with me and caused severe psychological trauma–oops–I thought I was Dick Cheney for a moment, can’t have people disagreeing with him you know!!!
Jill, I think you’re right, we’ll have to agree to disagree on this issue, but as Mespo points out, disagreement isn’t a bad thing at all. 🙂
Ditto here. I saw that “ordering” language but I took that as institutional verbiage for permission to go to those areas. I could be wrong on that, of course.
Disagreeing is what keeps me in business. I love it.
Mespo and Susan,
I just can’t agree with ya’ll on this one. If you read more info than the additional write up attached to the post, let me know as this may change my mind.
The priest had sex with two inmates. That is a pattern of abuse of authority. The article had him “ordering” the inmates to places for sex. Consent is not relevant in a situation where one person has all the power of the state behind them. This seems like a classic case of repete abuse to me.
I am not disagreeing that the judge erroneously used religious reasoning when all that is applicable is secular law.
We will probably have to agree to disagree on this one, but please know I value both of your opinions a great deal.
As someone very familiar with prisons,* I believe coercion by the chaplain is a remote possibility. Even though he does have certain influence over institutional decisions, his power is limited relative to every other authority figure. I agree the relationship is susceptible to coercion, but this case does not seem to have that element, and I am content to rely on the victim’s testimony on that issue, rather than relying on some presumption forged in the legislature.
* I represented the local chapter of BOP Guard Union for several years.
Jill, I agree with you that in this priest’s case, he abused his position of authority as a prison chaplain, and may have taken advantage of two female inmates. I say “may have” because I honestly don’t know what actually happened. I don’t believe a two-year sentence was justified in this case, however.
Mespo, I agree with you that this judge allowed his religious beliefs to influence his decision. While having sex with these two women inmates was deplorable, I don’t know if it was actually by consent or not. If it was by consent, it wasn’t forced, and isn’t that the way the law is supposed to interpret rape, as a FORCED sex act?
Why are our prisons providing facilities and staffing for institutions of religion to coerce beliefs on a captive audience in the first place?
Why does our judicial system often view the religious conversion / study / convictions of the accused and convicted as favorable in sentencing or parole review? Is this correlated with rehabilitation?
Is this not the same religious institution that created a modern army of pedophiles, and sought to obscure their crimes? Is this not the same institution that condemns use of condoms as a moral offense, while millions die of AIDS after abstinence miseducation? Is this not the same institution that enslaved girls in the Magedelene Laundries for decades in Ireland? The same institution that would rather see children in orphanages than facilitate adoption to gay parents, all the while plying donations from the poorest across the world… as the media covers what wine is fit to be served the leader of this cult?
Is this a moral authority we provide to guide perpetrators of victimless crimes in our prisons?
Here’s why I disagree with you on above. The inmate may really have loved the priest. Her feelings are irrelevant to the crime. This is a crime of authority. As a prison employee he holds all the cards, all the power in relation to the inmate. As a representative of god on earth (to the believer) he holds additional power above the civil authority. This is not a matter of biology, it is a matter of power and the abuse thereof. It does not matter if women strip naked in front of him. His job requires him to never take advantage of anyone over whom he has authority.
As an aside–if he really loved either of these women he could have given up his position as a priest and prison official and waited at least one year, then approached the women to see if they wanted to be with him. This would have put the biology on somewhat more of an equal footing (still not great in my opinion, but better).
I too agree this crime is fraught with problems if the person in authority uses the position to exact favors. Here, the allegations are that one of the inmates “loved” the good father. That takes it out of the oppressive category in my view. This seems more about biology than power, and Judges are supposed to know the difference.
I concur with Jill:
“Anyone in jail is vulnerable to a person of authority. Both his civil and religious position…[engenders a heightened sense of TRUST].”
RULE 505. COMMUNICATIONS TO MEMBERS OF THE CLERGY
Jill: I’m not sure if I actually find myself disagreeing with you about the crime being a serious one, in fact, highly disturbing. I do though think that by the judge intimating words of the cloth, instead of purely words form the robe – and thus sentencing outside of guidelines, he not only opens the door for appeal – but nails the grounds for the appeal to the courthouse door; ultimately creating a high likelihood of a reduction of the convicted Padre’s sentence and calls into question the judges demeanor for the entire trial.
I didn’t mean to suggest this isn’t a deplorable action – then again … it’s always nice to hear from you, particularly after inspiring Patty C. to post the nugget of a clip – ‘Citizen’s Arrest’
Mespo and binx,
I disagree that this wasn’t that serious of a crime. Anyone in jail is vunerable to a person of authority. Both his civil and religious position wipes out meaningful consent. It is a horrible abuse of both these positions. People should not take advantage of their authority over others. It is unethical, and in this case, clearly illegal.
I do think the judge’s line about “higher authority” (unless he is talking about my god–Baal) is over the top. It has no or negative bearing on this case.
With respect to you both,
Amen to that brother.
What’s really said about this – is the fact that the blograffiti artists will show here and other places this story appears and promote the case that this travesty is the fault of liberalism. Rather, than observe that the Bench – by pontificating and overtly breadcrumbing the path from his religious outrage – to his official actions – and then overreacting – puts undue pressure on the appeals process and further creates a situation that is not in the best interests of the public.
Proof once again that religion gets in the way of most things, read Judge Means’ “well reasoned” comments at sentencing:
“In sentencing Inametti far above the guidelines, Means used terms more blunt than the legal terminology, “sex abuse of a ward.” “This is rape and this is sodomy,” he said. Inametti’s lack of criminal history suggested that he might get a sentence between 10 and 16 months. The statutory maximum is five years.But Means said that Inametti’s crimes were “surprisingly heinous” and that he had violated a twofold trust: as an employee of the federal prison and as a priest.”For this he will face a higher authority than this one,” Means said.”
I smell an appeal coming. Why can’t these Judges learn that no one cares about their religious sentiments and moral outrage, and if they indulge themselves, due process always suffers. He is way over top in the sentencing and his outrageous comments (rape? sodomy? as in forcible?)
Means may want to reread United States v. Bakker, 925 F.2d 728, 732 (4th Cir. 1991), where another pious Federal Judge was overturned for his fire and brimstone religiosity at sentencing. Here’s the reasoning from the 4th Circuit:
“Our Constitution, of course, does not require a person to surrender his or her religious beliefs upon the assumption of judicial office. Courts, however, cannot sanction sentencing procedures that create the perception of the bench as a pulpit from which judges announce their personal sense of religiosity and simultaneously punish defendants for offending it.”
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