BY KEN LITTLE
William Casey has formally appealed his conviction on child sex abuse charges to a higher court.
Casey, 78, was convicted in July 2011 by a Sullivan County Criminal Court jury of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and two counts of aggravated rape in connection with sex abuse of then-altar boy Warren Tucker between 1978 and 1980, while Casey was assigned to St. Dominic Catholic Church in Kingsport.
Casey, a long-time Camp Creek community resident and a former pastor of Notre Dame Catholic Church in Greeneville, was sentenced by Montgomery on Nov. 23, 2011, to serve a prison term of 35 to 40 years.
Casey, through lawyers Rick and Matthew Spivey, filed the notice of appeal July 12 with the Tennessee Court of Appeals in Knoxville, court officials said.
In June, Judge Robert H. Montgomery Jr., Criminal Court judge for the Second Judicial District that comprises Sullivan County, denied a motion to grant a new trial to the former Roman Catholic priest, or alternately, to acquit Casey on the sex abuse charges of which he was convicted.
Casey is currently held in protective custody at the Northeast Correctional Complex in Mountain City, a spokesman for the Tennessee Department of Correction said today.
At the June hearing in Sullivan County, Matthew Spivey cited what he said were errors by the prosecution during Casey's trial and closing argument, and the judge's consideration of a North Carolina sex abuse crime involving Tucker that Casey pleaded guilty to prior to sentencing on the Tennessee conviction.
Spivey also called into question the credibility of prosecution witnesses and raised "due process" issues having to do with three decades that elapsed between the time Casey committed the acts and when he was charged with them.
Spivey and his father have sought dismissal of the case because of statute-of-limitations issues and the "ex post facto" law question, which refers to laws adopted after an act was committed.
Casey was tried using state laws that were in place in the late 1970s.
He would not be eligible for parole until at least 2026, when he is 92 years old.
On Casey's behalf, Rick Spivey filed a motion in December 2011 appealing the conviction in Sullvan County Criminal Court.
The 21-page motion maintained that there was insufficient evidence presented during the trial to convict Casey.
Nearly 100 "causes of action" are listed in the appeal, including alleged errors by the court in not allowing the defense to cross-examine Tucker at a hearing prior to the trial, allowing "hearsay evidence" into the record based on Tucker's recollections from the late 1970s, and failing to dismiss the criminal indictment against Casey because of a "pre-accusatorial delay of more than 31 years," along with issues related to the statute-of-limitations on the offenses.