Man Accused of Abusing Girl in '60s, '70s

By Ernesto Londoño
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, December 13, 2007

A 71-year-old Roman Catholic deacon from Silver Spring has been charged with incest in connection with the abuse of an underage female relative in the 1960s and 1970s, Montgomery County police said yesterday.

Dan Paul Stallings, who has served as deacon at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church in Silver Spring since 1986, was arrested yesterday and charged with 10 counts of incest, police said.

Stallings's accuser told detectives that Stallings abused her more than 60 times over several years, according to a charging document. Stallings admitted that he abused her when detectives interviewed him last month, the charging document says.

Maryland has no statute of limitations for most felonies, but police were unable to bring some charges against Stallings because the relevant laws were not on the books in the state in the 1960s. Prosecutors can only charge people with violations of laws that were in place when a crime occurred.

Police said the alleged abuse did not occur at church. However, detectives are investigating whether Stallings abused children he met through the ministry, police said. He has been involved in the Catholic Youth Organization at St. John the Evangelist Parish, police said.

The Washington Archdiocese said it is sending letters to parishioners notifying them of the charges and asking anyone with information to cooperate with detectives.

Stallings passed criminal background checks the archdiocese conducts for employees who come into close contact with children, the archdiocese said.

Deacons are ordained clergy members who assist priests with preaching and other functions. A married man can become a deacon. Stallings was married when he was ordained and became a widower last year, the archdiocese said.

Police said anyone with information is encouraged to call Montgomery Detective Katie Ellis Leggett at 240-773-5426.

© 2007 The Washington Post Company