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AP

Man gets probation for plot to murder abusive priest

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EAU CLAIRE (AP) - A man convicted of plotting to kill a Catholic priest who sexually abused him as a boy was placed on three years probation Friday.

As part of the plea bargain, Gregory J. Riedle, 26, of St. Paul, Minn., was ordered to leave Wisconsin since the priest, Thomas Adamson, now lives in Altoona.

Eau Claire County Judge William O'Brien, who said the case presented a situation unlike any which he had encountered before, questioned Minnesota authorities who did not want Riedle's return.

"Minnesota could just as soon kiss him goodbye and let some other state deal with him," O'Brien said.

District Attorney Raymond Pelrine said he recommended probation in consideration of what happened, not what could have happened. Riedle was charged with attempted first-degree intentional homicide, but that was later reduced to attempted felony battery.

In an interview last week, Riedle said he did not come to Eau Claire to kill Adamson. He said he only planned to locate and confront the Roman Catholic priest who sexually abused him when he was an altar boy more than a decade ago.

He said Adamson first approached him when he was 14 in a St. Paul YMCA whirlpool and the relationship continued for two years until his family moved.

"As God as my witness, I would not have done anything," Riedle said. "I ain't got it in me to hurt people … physically. I was mad at him. I won't deny that. I've always been mad at him."

Adamson moved to the Eau Claire area several years ago when he was deactivated by the church for his sexual liaison with Riedle and another altar boy. Riedle won a settlement resulting from the abuse from the Twin Cities Archdiocese in 1988.

Eau Claire police, acting on a tip, arrested Riedle at a tavern about 12 hours after he arrived in the city May 21. Inside Riedle's car, police found a butcher knife and a 4-foot long wooden club. In his hotel room, police found a letter addressed to Riedle's girlfriend saying Adamson "had to die."

"Unfortunately, with his death will come mine," he wrote.

Riedle told police the knife was brought along to facilitate his suicide and the club he used for protection. He never found Adamson.

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