Monk details sex, drugs, weeping icon at Texas monastery

Brownsville Herald, Texas/April 15, 2007

One of five monks facing charges of sexually abusing children told authorities that an inner circle of monks at the monastery there had sex with one another, smoked marijuana and used an eyedropper to produce fake tears on a Virgin Mary icon.

The allegations are the latest revelation into life at The Christ of the Hills monastery, in Blanco, Texas, which was allied with the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia from 1991 to 1999.

The church broke ties with the monastery when allegations surfaced of indecency by San Antonio-businessman-turned-monk Samuel Greene with an 11-year-old novice monk studying there.

Greene pleaded guilty in 2000 to indecency and was sentenced to 10 years probation. Monk Jonathan Hitt received a 10-year prison sentence in the case.

Greene, Hitt and three others were charged last year with sexual assault of a child and engaging in organized crime. All the monks except Hitt are free on bail and awaiting trial, authorities said.

In July, monk Hugh Brian Fallon detailed to investigators some of the activities going on at the monastery. That statement was released by court order last month.

The monks claimed that a Virgin Mary icon wept tears of myrrh, but those tears came from an eyedropper Greene kept in his nightstand, Fallon said.

Greene encouraged sex among the monks and would offer marijuana “when people were having problems,” Fallon said in his statement.

A man who answered Greene’s phone Sunday said that the monk is not talking to the media and had no comment.

Last year, the insurance company for the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia settled a claim by a man who says he was abused as a teenager at the monastery.

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