A former Long Island priest, Michael Hands, committed suicide in his jail cell upstate early Tuesday morning while awaiting sentencing on recently developed sex abuse indictments. Hands had previously served time in prison for molesting a 14-year-old Long Island boy in the summer of 2011.
In 2002, Hands became a witness in a grand jury that ended up producing an almost 200-page report accusing priests that belong to the Diocese of Rockville Centre, of decades long child abuse. No one was sentenced during this exploration and unfortunately, the statues of limitations had become void.
Michael Hands’ unexpected suicide occurred only days before his March 1st court appearance, where he was meant to be sentenced after pleading guilty back in January to two counts of third-degree sexual abuse. Hands was facing up to eight years in prison for this crime. Hands admitted to having sex with a child under the age of 17 on different occasions. He confessed he met the underage victim on the internet and then proceeded with the inappropriate relationship in person where it then became physical. He was regarded as a Level 3 sex offender.
In 2001 the Diocese of Rockville Centre suspended Hands after he was arrested for the allegations. Because of his cooperation with authorities, he was presented with just shy of two- year jail term.
A disturbing detail of the abuse is that Hands befriended the family of the 14-year-old boy that belonged to his parish where he practiced as a priest. He later plead guilty in 2003 to charges of sodomy.
While the families of the victims might feel some relief and justice due to Hands’ demise, there are many victims that feel silenced and afraid to speak out about the abuse they have undergone by the hands of a prominent , popular figure such as a priest or any other high ranking person that is widely respected in the community.
The attorneys at Alonso Krangle LLP urge you to contact them so that they may be able to aid you in healing by getting you justice.