Fast Times at Marin Catholic High

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

His missives largely consist of the kind of adolescent banter that would be unremarkable if it weren't written by a newly ordained priest to a teenage girl. He reveals that his favorite colors are "blue and green, maybe yellow"; that his favorite car is the Ford Mustang; that he wears a size 9 shoe; and that "besides the beach to look at all the chicks, my favorite place to go is Southern California to visit my friends." He discloses that his beer "isn't hidden. It's in a refrigerator in the TV room here at St. Raymond's [in Menlo Park]." He confides, "When I was a little brat I always wanted to be a priest. When I grew up and became a big brat I became a priest."

The letters reveal someone who, when he is not suggestively broaching the subject of sex, often proclaims love for the young Parkhurst. "I think you are a person who wanted a close friend, someone to share her life with a bit. You let me be that friend which means very much to me." He tells her that even if she were to lie to him it "would not affect my love for you or the way I feel about you. You had a number of things upset you last year [1973] and sometimes when people are upset they don't always tell the truth even when they mean to tell the truth. If that had happened with you, Jane, I still would feel exactly the same way about you that I feel right now. I love you and care for you very much."

In the same letter, in October 1974, Ingels says, "I am a better person because of you. You are a better person because of me. It's only when you have no one that you stop growing, stop improving, and die. I hope that never happens to me, Jane, and I hope it never happens to you."

Ingels taught Catholicism at Marin Catholic High in 
1973.
Ingels taught Catholicism at Marin Catholic High in 1973.

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Ingels' attorney, Charles Renati, declined to comment except to say that his client "denies that there was ever any abuse in any way."


After Ingels was called to Rome to study law, correspondence between him and Parkhurst dwindled before petering out in 1984. In one of the last exchanges, in which Parkhurst had written to him about her struggle with depression -- which she now is convinced was largely due to the alleged abuse -- Ingels revealed that he had sought professional help "for problems I was trying to deal with," without saying what they were. "Jane, you know how much I care for you and love you," he wrote. "I always have."

But it was her last contact -- the phone call from the sheriff's station -- that Parkhurst says sent a shiver through her.

Toward the end, frustrated that Ingels had brushed aside her references to his sexual behavior by suggesting that nothing had happened between them, she informed him that she had kept his letters.

His response, she says, was stunning in its focus.

"He asked two questions. First, he wanted to know if the letters were typed or handwritten," Parkhurst says. "And second, he asked me if he had signed them. To me, that sort of said it all."

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