Police checked report that campers saw priest naked
DENVER ” A priest accused of jogging in the nude came to the attention of police eight years ago when some boys reported seeing him shaving while naked, a state investigator said.
Former Sterling Police Chief Larry Graham, who now works for the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, told the Rocky Mountain News in Tuesday’s editions that he checked out the reports about the Rev. Robert Whipkey in 1999.
Graham said no complaint was filed, and he concluded no crime had been committed.
Whipkey did not immediately return a message left Tuesday at the rectory in Frederick, his most recent assignment. The Archdiocese of Denver had no immediate comment, a spokeswoman said.
Whipkey now faces a charge of indecent exposure after a police officer said he saw the 53-year-old priest walking naked on a Frederick street about an hour before sunrise on June 22.
According to an arrest report, Whipkey told police he had been jogging in the nude because his weight caused him to sweat profusely if he exercised in clothing.
The archdiocese placed him on indefinite administrative leave from his duties at in Frederick and the nearby towns of Mead and Erie.
Graham said he checked out the 1999 reports after some 11-year-old boys returned to Sterling from a summer camp and said they had seen Whipkey unclothed at the camp.
It’s not clear where the camp was. Whipkey was assigned to a Sterling church that year, the archdiocese said.
Graham said the boys told him there was no sexual contact.
“I asked people and assured myself that no crime had been committed,” Graham said. “If I had heard something that could have led to criminal charges, I would have pursued it.”
Graham said there are no reports on the case because he never formally investigated it.
After the June 22 incident, the archdiocese said that it had responded to some “concerns of inappropriate behavior” by Whipkey when he served as a pastor in Sterling more than eight years ago.
Church officials didn’t release any details and it wasn’t clear if it was the same incident Graham looked into.
Church officials said they brought the incident to the attention of local authorities and Whipkey entered therapy, which continued for several years.