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Ex-priest convicted of sexually assaulting boys

Jan. 15, 2010

Waukesha - A former member of the Brothers of the Holy Cross religious order who later became a Catholic priest pleaded guilty Friday and was convicted of sexually assaulting two boys in the Elm Grove area, one in the late 1970s and the other in the early 1980s.

Prosecutor Debra L. Blasius said the state will argue that James R. Blume receive a 10-year prison term when he is sentenced March 26.

Blume, 64, was charged with two counts of sexual assault against a child. He decided to enter guilty pleas Friday rather than take the case to trial and was found guilty by Waukesha County Reserve Judge Patrick L. Snyder.

Blume was charged in July with sexually assaulting a 13-year-old boy in the winter of 1979 at the Sleepy Hollow Motel in Elm Grove.

The second sexual assault charge was added after another man came forward in October after hearing that Blume had been accused of molesting the 13-year-old boy. The man, now 41, told Elm Grove Police that Blume had sexually assaulted him between April 1982 and January 1984, starting when he was a 14-year-old boy.

Blume can be prosecuted for the offenses three decades later because he didn't remain in Wisconsin long enough for the six-year statute of limitations then in place to expire.

Both victims told police they were sexually assaulted a number of times by Blume.

Blume in the criminal complaint acknowledged that he was forced to take a leave of absence from the priesthood in 1989 because of allegations made by a boy. That boy is the second victim in the Waukesha County criminal case.

At the time, "the church was like GM. It's called cut your losses and run, so basically they handed me $50,000 and told me to start a new life," Blume told Elm Grove police Detective Craig Mayer.

Blume worked in Wisconsin as a brother for the Catholic Church and lived at the St. Charles Boys Home in Wauwatosa before leaving in 1978.

He also taught religious education classes at St. Luke's parish in Brookfield in the 1970s, according to Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, which tracks sexual abuse cases.

Blume was ordained a diocesan priest on June 14, 1980, in Fort Wayne-South Bend (Ind.) Diocese, diocesan spokesman Vince LaBarbera said Friday. Blume was removed from the priesthood in June 2007, LaBarbera said.

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