JOHNSON CITY, Texas (AP) - Four monks pleaded not guilty to charges alleging a boy was sexually assaulted at a Texas monastery that draws thousands of visitors every year, officials said Monday.
The four monks, plus another serving a 10-year prison sentence for indecency with a minor, were charged after a young man claimed he had been assaulted at the monastery beginning in 1993, when he was a teenager. Oatman said another accuser has come forward, and others could follow.
Three of the monks appeared in court in shackles and orange prison jumpsuits Monday and entered not guilty pleas to charges of sexual assault of a child and organized criminal activity.
Monastery founder Samuel Greene, 61, who has health problems related to a car accident, was not in court but has pleaded not guilty to those charges as well as one count of sexual performance of a child, said his attorney, Michael W. White.
``He's upset,'' White said of his client. ``You can just imagine what it's like to be accused.''
The fifth indicted monk, Jonathan Hitt, 45, was convicted in 1999 of indecency with a 14-year-old novice monk at the Eastern Orthodox Christian monastery. Oatman said Hitt has not entered a plea on the new charges.
The others, Walter Christley, who turns 45 Tuesday; Hugh Fallon, 40; and William Hughes, 55, remained in custody and did not yet have lawyers.