It's always refreshing to read about a priest who's not accused of diddling little boys, so it was a treat to learn that retired Houston priest John Rouse is only accused of...threatening to bomb an insurance company if it didn't process his claim fast enough.
Rouse pleaded not guilty in a Georgia federal court last week; according to the indictment, Rouse's May 24 call to Aflac (that supplemental insurance company whose mascot is an accident-prone, possibly feeble-minded duck) "contained a threat to injure; specifically, the defendant threatened to bring a shotgun or a bomb to [the customer service rep's] place of business because he was dissatisfied with the service he was receiving."
But really, who hasn't said such things in the course of a business call?
According to the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer, an FBI officer's affidavit states that the retired Catholic priest allegedly "made a bomb threat and suggested he'd fly a plane" into Aflac's offices. When the customer representative alerted a supervisor, Rouse allegedly reached down deeper into his inner Rambo and warned he "would come packing" if Aflac didn't process his claim within a day. Rouse was arrested at home three days later.
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We don't know why Rouse simply wouldn't have said he's tight with the Heavenly Father and whatnot, but maybe he just didn't want to play the catechism card.
Rouse's Houston attorney, Douglas McNabb, told Hair Balls he hadn't yet listened to a recording of the call but is prepared to go to trial. (No trial date has been set). Rouse is free on bond; if convicted, he faces a five-year maximum in prison.
"At this point, it's very, very early in the process," McNabb said.
We left a message for Rouse but haven't heard back. Of course, if these allegations are true, that's probably good for our sake.