Fact Check

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Was the pastor of the church attended by Senator Hillary Clinton convicted of child molestation?

Published April 13, 2008


Claim:   The pastor of the church attended by Senator Hillary Clinton was convicted of child molestation.

Status:   False.

Example:   [Collected via e-mail, April 2008]

Is it true that the Clinton's pastor Rev William Procanick was
found guilty in Onedia Courty Court for inappropriately touching a 7 year
old girl in his home and was sentence to 3 years in prison.

Origins:   In February 2008, the Rev. William Procanick, a former pastor in Oneida County, New York, was sentenced to three years in prison on charges related to his "inappropriately touching a 7-year-old girl" at his home in March 2007. Although Procanick maintained he had no sexual contact with the girl (a family friend who sometimes stayed overnight at the

couple's home) and merely rubbed her back and legs as she tried to go to sleep, a jury convicted him on charges of first-degree sexual abuse and endangering the welfare of a child.

In the typical shorthand of news headlines, the Procanick case was typically referred to in New York-area news sources as involving a "former Clinton pastor" or the "former pastor of Clinton church," a reference to the fact that defendant had served as pastor of a church in the central New York village of Clinton (named for George Clinton, the first governor of the state of New York). Many casual readers mistakenly interpreted these headlines as being references to the pastor of a church attended by Senator Hillary Clinton — news oddly reminiscent of the current political controversy involving the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, the former pastor of the church attended by Senator Clinton's opponent for the Democratic presidential nomination, Senator Barack Obama.

However, other than the coincidence of having a surname that is also the name of a village in the state she represents in the U.S. Senate, neither Senator Clinton nor her family has any substantive connection to Rev. William Procanick or his former church. The latter was pastor of the Resurrection Assembly of God Church in Oneida County, while the former resides in Westchester County and attends various Methodist churches "as often as her schedule allows."

Last updated:   13 April 2008

  Sources Sources:

    Ferris, Joleen.   "Former Pastor of Clinton Church Testifies in Own Sexual Abuse Trial."

    The [Utica] Observer-Dispatch.   18 January 2008.

    Joyce, Kathryn and Jeff Sharlet.   "Hillary's Prayer: Hillary Clinton's Religion and Politics."

    Mother Jones.   1 September 2007.

    LaDuca, Rocco.   "Ex-Pastor: Touching Wasn't Sexual."

    The [Utica] Observer-Dispatch.   18 January 2008.

    LaDuca, Rocco.   "Judge to Ex-Pastor: 'You Lied.'"

    The [Utica] Observer-Dispatch.   29 February 2008.

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.

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