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Former priest gets 20 years for sexually assaulting 2 teens in Elm Grove

March 27, 2010

A former Catholic priest was sentenced to 20 years in prison Friday for sexually assaulting two teenage boys in Elm Grove in the late 1970s and early 1980s, according to his attorney.

James R. Blume, 64, who first served as a Brother of the Holy Cross, became a priest in 1980. He was removed from the priesthood in June 2007. Blume most recently lived in Florida, where he worked as a prison counselor and social worker, said his attorney, Jonathan LaVoy of Brookfield.

In January, Blume pleaded guilty in Waukesha County Circuit Court to two counts of sexual assault of a child.

One victim was a 13-year-old boy, whom Blume assaulted in 1979 at the Sleepy Hollow Motel in Elm Grove.

In October, three months after the first charge was filed, a second man came forward, saying that as a teenager, he, too, had been assaulted by Blume. Those assaults took place between April 1982 and January 1984.

The second victim originally made allegations against Blume in 1989, at which point Blume took a forced leave of absence from the priesthood, according to the criminal complaint.

Because Blume left the state after the crimes occurred, the six-year statute of limitations on the books back then did not expire. His sentence also must conform to the laws in place at the time, which was before truth in sentencing took effect. As a result, he will be eligible for parole after serving five years, LaVoy said.

The 20-year prison term was more than the 10 years recommended by the prosecution. The defense had asked for probation, to include one year of jail, due in part to the fact that Blume has leukemia.

Blume apologized to both victims, who were present in court, LaVoy said.

"Mr. Blume essentially tried to make sure the victims knew it was not their fault," LaVoy said.

While in Wisconsin, Blume taught religious education at St. Luke's parish, according to Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. As a Catholic brother, he lived and worked at the St. Charles Boys Home in Wauwatosa until 1978.

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