Judge frees priest accused of raping intoxicated airman after praying supporters crowd courtroom
An Idaho priest has been released from custody after being accused of raping an unconscious airman, the Charlotte Observer reports.
Rev. Victor Jagerstatter, who was charged Monday with assaulting the passed out airman, was released on his own recognizance despite the prosecutor in the case requesting a $2,000 bond. The judge cited the large crowd of supporters, who were praying aloud and wearing t-shirts that read “I stand with Fr. Victor.”
The supporters overflowed the courtroom, praying the Lord’s Prayer and singing “Amazing Grace.” Some carried signs saying the priest was innocent, according to the Observer.
Magistrate Judge David Epis said those supporters would ensure Jagerstatter showed up for his next court date.
He could face life in prison if convicted of rape charges.
According to Mountain Home police, the airman was renting a room from the priest on the Air Force base.
The victim alleged he went to a party on July 8 and returned home at 3 a.m. He was fully clothed when he went to bed, but awoke suddenly partially exposed, with Jagerstatter kneeling beside him.
“The victim screamed and Victor Franz Jagerstatter asked him if he wanted breakfast,” an affidavit given to KMVT reads.
Jagerstatter is on administrative leave from his position at Our Lady Good Counsel, a parish in Mountain Home, a small city south of Boise.
Watch the report from KMVT here: