Clergy abuse case filled with silent bystanders
Long before Father Donald Patrick Roemer was charged with molesting a young boy, his behavior had been observed by churchgoers, fellow priests, school officials and police authorities. Yet none of them did anything.
They stared at each other, the detective and the priest. Kelli McIlvain found interrogating him somewhat surreal. She had been raised Catholic and taught that a man in a black clerical shirt and white collar was nothing less than an emissary of God.
Father Donald Patrick Roemer was 5 feet 5, maybe 150 pounds. Hazel eyes. Blondish hair. A Ventura County Sheriff's Office report described him that night as "cooperative, seems stable," though McIlvain remembered how he repeatedly buried his head on the desk and wept.
To her surprise, his confession came easily. Yes, he said, he molested the 7-year-old boy.