A Roman Catholic priest who said he was jogging naked during the predawn hours because he didn't want to sweat in his clothes was found guilty Thursday of indecent exposure.
The Rev. Robert Whipkey, 53, was found guilty by a Weld County jury and will be sentenced in August. He faces up to 18 months in jail and could be ordered to register as a sex offender.
Whipkey's attorney argued that the reverend did not intend to show his genitalia in public. But one trial observer isn't buying that.
"This individual is being put on a daily basis in a position of trust with our children. Is that something that I would want my children involved with or to see or to witness? The direct answer is no," said Bob Branchato with Survivors Network of Those Abused By Priests. "Justice was done today. That is, we protected some children."
Whipkey was arrested last June in Frederick, about 25 miles north of Denver, after an officer saw him walking naked on a street at 4:35 a.m.
Even though he is a Roman Catholic priest, the judge excluded any references to Whipkey's profession during the trial because it has no bearing on the charge. But the judge did allow previous allegations, including those that Whipkey has been seen walking nude around his home, swimming nude, and shaving nude during a boys' camp, to be admitted at the trial.
An officer going home from his shift saw Whipkey walking naked in the street. Whipkey told him he had been running naked at the track at Frederick High School and didn't think anyone would be around that time of day.
The Denver Archdiocese has placed Whipkey on administrative leave.
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