Fast Times at Marin Catholic High

A case that the Archdiocese of San Francisco apparently doesn't want you to know about

In the days that followed, Ingels called her aside on a regular basis, usually inviting her into a small room behind the principal's office, she says. His expressions were just "small talk" at first, she says, peppered with assurances such as, "You can trust me" and "You can tell me what you're feeling."

But before long, she says, the sessions took an unusual turn.

She says that Ingels would stand at a desk and demand that she give him hugs, assuring her that "it's OK, I'm a priest." By the third or fourth such meeting, she says, he began to pull her close to him and would have an erection. Although she felt uncomfortable, she says she was too scared to protest.

Father Gregory Ingels in 1973.
Father Gregory Ingels in 1973.
Accused ex-priest and teacher Guy Murnig.
Accused ex-priest and teacher Guy Murnig.

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The sessions, which took place once or twice a day during the first half of the school year, usually lasted about 20 minutes, she says. At times when she was late for class she says Ingels told her to tell the teacher that he was "counseling" her. During meetings in the school's "media room" and elsewhere, she says, Ingels caressed her and reassured her that everything was all right, telling her that "this is our secret" and that "you're special to me. People will not understand our relationship."

Not long before Christmas of 1973, she says, Ingels instructed her to begin meeting him in his room at the church rectory next to the school's track and football field. After ringing the doorbell, Parkhurst says, she was typically let in by an elderly woman who escorted her downstairs to Ingels' quarters. His was a private room with white walls and a bed and windows that looked out toward Mount Tamalpais.

It was during her visits to the rectory that Ingels' physical advances escalated, she says. Starting in January 1974, she says, he began the first of many demands that she masturbate or fellate him. Her lawsuit contends that on most such occasions the priest was in the habit of directing her hands or mouth to his genitals without saying a word; other times he would simply tell her to "take care of it."

Although she says that she realized that "something wasn't right," she says that Ingels constantly reassured her that he loved her. "Looking back, it may seem strange to people," Parkhurst says, "but I was a mixed-up young kid going through a very difficult time in my life and he made me feel special by singling me out."

Parkhurst says the priest continued to pursue her after her family moved to Burlingame in the summer of 1974. (Ingels received his ordination as a priest in May of that year.) She recalls his sexual advances -- including French kisses and touching her breasts -- during his many visits to the family home, routinely "two or three times a month," Parkhurst says. She says he also engaged in sexual contact with her at her grandmother's house in Millbrae.

Ingels aroused little suspicion in Parkhurst's adoptive parents, who she says "thought it was great that a priest was taking such a personal interest in me." She says Ingels often picked her up in his white Mustang to play tennis or go for a ride. In May 1975, she says, he took her to Marine World but insisted on leaving after only an hour. On the way home, she contends that Ingels pulled off the road in Woodside and demanded that she fellate him.

Ingels' letters, written on official stationery of various Bay Area parishes where he was assigned -- all signed, "Love, Fr. Greg" -- appear to reflect an interest in young Parkhurst that was more than platonic.

The first such letter, dated July 10, 1974 -- after Ingels had been reassigned to a church in Menlo Park and before Parkhurst had moved to Burlingame -- begins, "Don't let my moving away bother you too much, Jane." Referring to a toy frog she had given him as a gift, he says, "I still have Greg the Frog. He's sitting on a bookshelf up above my chair. All your notes and pictures are in a special box in my desk." After telling her that "I care for you very much and want to remain close to you," he adds, "The talks we had about s.e.x.: despite the fact that they were funny, did they help you? You know you can ask me something about that anytime you want to."

In a letter postmarked six days later, Ingels explains the male reproductive tract, telling Parkhurst about erections, nocturnal emissions, and seminal fluid. ("It's usually sticky. It's not like urine at all.") "Basically that's how a guy works," he concludes. The next week, he takes up where he left off: "I wasn't embarrassed to tell you about the way guys work," he writes, launching another explanation of "wet dreams."

Another time, he writes, "Did I ever tell you my new private phone number?" After giving the number, he says, "It's just like the phone when I was at Blessed Sacrament. No one answers except me. So if you would like to call every once in a while give me a call. If you are worried about calling long distance then call collect." Another letter's postscript urges, "Call collect in the evening if you can, around 9."

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