Priest Allegedly Attacks MediaNews Group Reporter

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By: Joe Strupp

A California priest allegedly attacked a reporter from a MediaNews Group paper during an interview Wednesday morning, according to a story in the chain’s Oakland Tribune.

The story reports that the incident occurred at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in Fairfield when Ryan Chalk of The Vacaville Reporter visited the church to speak with the Rev. Sebastian Meyer “about a story on an alleged conflict with a parishioner that had happened during Sunday Mass.”

“After identifying himself as a reporter, Chalk explained that he was working on a story about a parishioner who claimed the priest expelled her from Mass because her vehicle sported painted signs in support of president-elect Barack Obama,” the story said.

“He became very agitated,” Chalk said in the story. “He told me, ‘No, we’re not writing that. I did not touch her. I did not talk to her.'”

“Chalk said Meyer then threatened to file a lawsuit if any story were written and told him it was ‘illegal because it’s none of your business,'” the Tribune reported. “‘At that point, I took my notepad out and asked what was illegal,” Chalk said.”

The story adds that: “Meyer became more agitated and lunged at him, Chalk said, clawing at his arm and reaching for his notepad. Stunned, the reporter turned to run out the door as Meyer continued to grab at him.”

“He yelled, ‘Where are you going?'” Chalk is quoted as saying. “It was absolutely shocking.”

Chalk reported the incident to police and the Sacramento Diocese, which oversees the church, the paper reported.

“Kevin Eckery, who handles media relations for the diocese, said that because a report of the incident had been made to police, he couldn’t comment on specifics,” the story added.

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