Victims demand priest name co-conspirators in KKK cross burning

He is yet to pay the $23,000 a judge says he owes them for violating their civil rights.

WASHINGTON (WUSA9) - If Father William Aitcheson is truly contrite for burning a cross in their front yard 40 years ago, a Silver Spring couple say they've yet to hear it directly from him.

Phillip and Barbara Butler say he's yet to pay the $23,000 a judge awarded them for violating their civil rights.

“I didn't know he was a priest until the news people came over,” said Phillip Butler.

RELATED: Priest takes leave after disclosing past in the Ku Klux Klan

The Butlers and their lawyer, Ted Williams, are reacting for the first time to news that Aitcheson, the Ku Klux Klansman who burned a cross in their front yard in College Park in 1977, has become a Catholic priest.

“I didn't know what to say, it was unbelievable,” said Phillip Butler.

Five years after the cross burning, President and Mrs. Reagan came to their home in a predominantly white neighborhood in College Park, and told them this kind of thing shouldn't happen in America.

“It makes you very afraid of what's going on. You definitely worry about your family,” Phillip Butler told a crowd of reporters and photographers in his lawyer’s office.

RELATED: Did priest with KKK past really put it behind him?

After being questioned by a freelance reporter, and apparently prompted by the racist violence in Charlottesville, Father Aitcheson wrote a column in the Arlington Catholic Herald on Monday, publicly confessing that he'd been a member of the KKK, and writing that he was truly sorry.

He's stepped away from public ministry, and the diocese say he's knows he needs to pay the $23,000 he still owes the Butlers for violating their civil rights.

RELATED: Priest with former KKK ties worked at six Virginia churches

“This has been years, and we've never heard one word or anything,” said Barbara Butler.

The Butlers say Father Aitcheson has never paid, nor apologized, nor shown any remorse, even in court.

Ted Williams, their attorney, says if Aticheson is truly sorry, he will name his co-conspirators in the KKK terror spree so long ago.  

“He needs to give up the other Klansmen or women who were involved,” said Williams.

Father Aitcheson and the Arlington Bishop say they want to meet with the Butlers "in a pastoral, private setting ... in the hope that it may bring them healing."

The Butlers say they don't want to meet until Aitcheson names names.

The Arlington Catholic Diocese is just out with a statement that Father Aitcheson has agreed to fully cooperate with police in providing any details of the old case that they'd failed to collect earlier.

© 2017 WUSA-TV


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