Crime

Father Charles Robert Manning allegedly acted like jealous lover around fifteen year old

The arrest affidavit pertaining to Father Charles Robert Manning, an ex-Catholic priest in Colorado Springs who's been busted on suspicion of sexual assault on a child by a person in a position of trust, is currently sealed. But comments from a woman who says she reported Manning to authorities suggest that the 77 year old acted like a "jealous lover" in regard to the alleged object of his affection, age fifteen.

The information comes courtesy of the Colorado Springs Gazette, which has been following this story since January. That's when the Reverend Rafael Torres-Rico told the congregation at St. Gabriel the Archangel Catholic Church that Manning had been asked to step down while he was being investigated for sexually abusing a minor.

Torres-Rico didn't provide additional details about the accusations. Likewise, the Colorado Springs Police Department released a statement confirming the investigation and praising the church for its cooperation without offering any other information.

The Tuesday arrest of Manning, who came to the Springs from Missouri in 2007 and formally retired from the priesthood in February, wasn't accompanied by a sudden gusher of factoids from the CSPD. But the Gazette spoke with a woman who became concerned about Manning's relationship with a fifteen-year-old friend of the family.

According to her, the teen began attending church alone, and somewhere along the way, he captured Manning's attention. The priest subsequently hired the boy to clean his home, but the relationship allegedly went well beyond employer-employee status. She tells the paper Manning "behaved like a 'jealous lover,'" so frequently calling and texting to check on his whereabouts that he eventually announced that he was going to move another state in order to get away from the priest. She reported her fears to cops in October, with Manning's suspension from his duties at St. Gabriel taking place a few months later.

The Diocese of Colorado Springs released a statement about the matter that reads in part, "A process has now begun. As it goes forward, there should be compassion and care for the alleged victim. There should be a presumption of innocence for the priest."

Update, 11:13 a.m. May 23: The Colorado Springs Police Department has just released mug shots of Father Charles Robert Manning. Here they are:

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
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