Anglican Watch

Spotlight on abuse: Episcopal priest Jim Carlton Wooldridge

Spotlight on Abuse: Episcopal Priest Jim Carlton Wooldridge

Episcopal priest Jim Carlton Wooldridge was sentenced in January 2008 to three years in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Institutional Division and fined $5,000 in the 27th District Court on felony charges of sexual misconduct with a minor male.

According to Lampasas District Clerk Terri Cox, Wooldridge was charged with two counts of sexual assault and indecency with a child, who was 15 years old at the time of the alleged event. He was indicted on March 14, 2007 and pleaded guilty to both charges.
Wooldridge was rector of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Lampasas, Texas from 1994 to 2007.
Rectory resident John Christian “J.C.” Wood, 21, who was also arrested in connection with the allegations, was charged with sexual assault, indecency with a child and unlawful possession of a firearm. The state dropped the sexual assault and possession charges, but Wood was convicted on September 21, 2007 of indecency with a child by sexual contact and sentenced to four years in prison.
The male victim, 16 years old at the time of sentencing, filed the charges with the Lampasas Police Department on December 1, 2006 when he was 14, according to the arrest affidavit that detailed how Wooldridge and Wood sexually exploited the boy.
The victim’s testimony in the arrest affidavit indicates the boy slept over at his pastor’s house several times because his mother worked late in Copperas Cove and his family lived in Kempner. Both Wood and Wooldridge participated in multiple sexual acts with him, the victim said.
Wooldridge was placed on administrative leave from the church after turning himself in to the Lampasas County Sheriff’s Department.
According to Episcopal Diocese of Texas spokeswoman Carol Barnwell, Wooldridge renounced his orders as a priest in April 2007 after learning the bishop was preparing to depose him. Wooldridge was a graduate of the Episcopal Theological Seminary of the Southwest ordained in 1980.

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