Wednesday, December 12, 2007; 3:18 PM
A 71-year-old Catholic Church deacon from Silver Spring has been charged with incest for allegedly abusing an underage female relative in the 1960s and 1970s, Montgomery County police said today.
Dan Paul Stallings, who has served as deacon at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church in Silver Spring since 1986, was arrested yesterday and charged with 10 counts of incest, police said.
Police said the abuse took place outside the church. However, investigators are concerned that Stallings may have abused other children he met through the ministry, police said. He has been involved in the Catholic Youth Organization at St. John the Evangelist Parish, police said.
The Washington Archdiocese issued a statement today noting that the alleged abuse predates Stallings's work as a deacon. The archdiocese is sending letters to parishioners notifying them about the charges and asking anyone with information to cooperate with detectives, according to the statement.
Stallings passed criminal background checks the archdiocese conducts for employees who come into close contact with children, the archdiocese said.
Deacons are ordained clergy who assist priests with preaching and other functions. They may marry. Stallings was married when he was ordained and became widowed last year, the archdiocese said.