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Former priest, radio host accused of sex abuse, assault

9-17-2006 California:

SAN FRANCISCO -- A former priest who was once a charismatic, nationally renowned youth minister but was later accused of sexually abusing children, has died, authorities said Friday.

The body of Donald Wren Kimball, 62, was found in his friend's home in Windsor, about 54 miles north of San Francisco, sheriff's Sgt. Tim Duke said. Police found no evidence indicating criminal activity, he said.

Mr. Kimball, who was ordained in 1969, rose to national prominence in his early 30s with an award-winning radio show aimed at young people.

He was accused of using his charm and popularity to coerce teenage girls to have sex with him.

In 1990, after Mr. Kimball acknowledged having sexual contact with six young girls, church officials forced him to give up his youth ministry and suspended him from performing priestly duties.

Abuse allegations against Mr. Kimball first became public in 1997. Criminal charges were filed in 2000 -- the same year Pope John Paul II formally removed him from the priesthood.

In 2002, Mr. Kimball was acquitted of raping a 14-year-old girl in 1977 but convicted of molesting a 13-year-old girl in 1981.

The conviction was overturned in 2003 after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a California law extending the statute of limitations for sex crimes involving children.

The two alleged victims each received about $120,000 after the church settled their civil suits against him. ..more.. by Kim Curtis

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