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Accuser requests no bail for ex-priest

By ROBERT FARLEY, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published August 10, 2002

A day after police charged former Episcopal priest Richard A. Pollard with molesting a boy more than 25 years ago, the man who accused him of that abuse appeared in court to make sure Pollard stays behind bars.

For his first court hearing, Pollard, 73, appeared in court via video from the Pinellas County Jail. When Pollard's name was called, the Tarpon Springs man shot from his seat in the courtroom so that he could have an opportunity to address Circuit Judge Lauren C. Laughlin about bail.

The man first gave his name, which is being withheld by the Times.

"I am the victim, one of several," he said.

"I ask that you deny bond to Mr. Pollard," he said. "He admitted to me on tape, in the presence of law enforcement, to his crimes."

Pollard was arrested after the victim, wearing a hidden recorder, talked to the retired priest earlier this week. During the conversation, investigators say, Pollard admitted the crimes and apologized.

"I am afraid, as is my mother, that Mr. Pollard may retaliate with violence," he said.

The man said he is convinced Pollard is mentally unsettled and is a danger to himself and others.

Laughlin declined to set bail for Pollard, who faces a life sentence for each of the eight counts of capital sexual battery filed against him.

Pollard, of New Port Richey, did not speak on his own behalf at the hearing, except to explain that he had retained attorney Charles H. Scruggs.

Authorities charge that Pollard began sexually abusing the boy when he was 6 and continued until he was 11. The abuse began while Pollard was a priest at St. Andrew's Church in Tampa and continued when he moved to All Saint's Episcopal Church in Tarpon Springs, police said. The abuse took place at the two churches and in Pollard's former home in Tarpon Springs, authorities said.

In June, Pollard renounced his clerical orders after two other men came forward with allegations that he fondled them when they were teenagers in the 1970s. Authorities said the statute of limitations prevents them from charging Pollard. But investigators intend to use the two men as witnesses in this case.

Pollard served as priest in three counties. From 1964 to 1969, he was the vicar at St. Elizabeth's Episcopal Church in Zephyrhills. From 1969 to 1974, he was at St. Andrew's Church in Tampa; then in 1974, he moved to All Saint's Episcopal Church in Tarpon Springs. He retired in 1992.

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