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Illinois Catholic Priest Calls 911 After Getting Stuck in Handcuffs: AUDIO

The Illinois Times reports on a recent emergency at the Catholic church:

DonovanThe pastor of St. Aloysius church on Springfield’s north end has been granted a leave of absence after he called 911 from the rectory and told a dispatcher that he needed help getting out of handcuffs.

“I’m going to need help getting out before this becomes a medical emergency,” Father Tom Donovan told a dispatcher who sounds a bit incredulous during the Nov. 28 call.

“You’re stuck in a pair of handcuffs?” the dispatcher asks.

“(I was) playing with them and I need help getting out,” Donovan responds.

Donovan told the dispatcher that he was alone in the rectory. It’s not clear exactly how he ended up in handcuffs or why he feared a medical emergency. His voice sounds garbled or muffled on the tape, and sources say that police discovered some sort of gag on the priest when they arrived.


Here's the hilarious 911 call:

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  1. Sounds to me like he has a "bridle" type gag in his mouth. If I were to guess..

    Posted by: michael | Jan 4, 2013 1:31:19 PM

  2. another closet door swings open.

    Posted by: walter | Jan 4, 2013 1:31:24 PM

  3. Why is this "gay" news? The straights don't have fetishes?

    Posted by: Mark | Jan 4, 2013 1:34:52 PM

  4. First off, there are a whole assortment of comments on Towleroad that frustrate me, but I appreciate their ability to provoke conversation.

    However, I can't stand "why is this news?" posts. Are you an editor for this website? What do you think you're accomplishing with that question?

    Posted by: Mikey | Jan 4, 2013 1:39:36 PM

  5. Oh gosh, Mark, who knows? Maybe because of his face and the fact that he's a priest?

    Posted by: Paul R | Jan 4, 2013 1:39:46 PM

  6. This feels a bit like bullying to me. If he ends up killing himself over this, how is it any different than what happened to Tyler Clementi? The poor guy became a priest, which indicates that he already has issues and now his sex life is being mocked by the whole Internet.

    Posted by: art | Jan 4, 2013 1:40:01 PM

  7. I have trouble remembering the last time I laughed so hard....

    Posted by: Butch | Jan 4, 2013 1:40:58 PM

  8. I agree with Mark, this will probably end being a sex scandal, but not necesarily a gay sex scandal.
    Maybe he read 50 shades of grey and was so hooked but the marvellous prose of the writer that he felt the urge to experiment

    Posted by: jjose712 | Jan 4, 2013 1:42:20 PM

  9. You guys are so mean!!! Maybe he was using the handcuffs to prevent masturbation and the gag to keep unclean words from escaping his lips. This helps him keep his vow of celibacy, you know. There may be other quite innocent and logical explanations, but I am laughing too hard to come-up with them right now...

    Posted by: Alex Parrish | Jan 4, 2013 1:52:09 PM

  10. What kind of bizarre autoerotic experience was he engaged in?

    He could dial 911 to get this attention, but could not call a "friend" to help him with this? Maybe the "friend" put him in this situation.

    I would say that this could make it difficult to move up in the hierarchy.

    It is very thoughtful of someone to mention that it is not nice and even potentially harmful to mock this individual, but by the time Towleroad posts this type of story, it is not "breaking". This is not the post that is going to put him over the edge.

    Posted by: Fahd | Jan 4, 2013 1:56:18 PM

  11. This is news because the Catholic Church in Illinois is doing everything they can to portray gays and lesbians as evil people destroying the sanctity of marriage, whatever that is, and as sexual perverts. In case Art and Mark haven't been paying attention. And did you also leave comments on the Times website complaining about this? I'm guessing the Times has a lot more readers than Towleroad.

    Posted by: jht | Jan 4, 2013 1:57:45 PM

  12. I have zero sympathy for this man...I don't care if he is driven to suicide. If he were simply some closet-case out there not associated with the terrorist org better known as the Catholic church, then perhaps I could muster some...I actually think if he kills himself, he would be doing the world a favor. One less minion of the Catholic church to harass and terrorize children and young people with guilt trips over what a hateful, imaginary god demands of them.

    Posted by: lucas | Jan 4, 2013 2:10:19 PM

  13. @JHT

    Indeed. Take a look at the October 7, 2012 church bulletin from St. Aloysius, wherein they appear to have plenty to say about same-sex marriage (PDF).

    "The article reprinted below appeared in the September 21, 2012 issue of the Catholic Times. In his article, Bishop Paprocki explains the importance of Catholics being aware of their personal responsibility to vote in a way that is consistent with the moral principles that preserve the dignity of the human person, that insure the freedoms of religious liberty, and that promote the respect the human family as the fundamental building block of our society.

    The bishop has a very serious message for us as he reminds the faithful that, “you need to think and pray very carefully about your vote, because a vote for a candidate who promotes actions or behaviors that are intrinsically evil and gravely sinful makes you morally complicit and places the eternal salvation of your own soul in serious jeopardy.” This is a courageous message in the charged political atmosphere we are in, so his main point needs to be understood clearly and properly. Suppose for instance, that a candidate for political office (for any political office and representing any party) explicitly espoused slavery, which we understand to be a grave moral evil. While there may be prudential debate and even disagreement over other positions in the candidate’s platform (such as economics, foreign policy, entitlements), to conscientiously vote for such a candidate who espouses an objectively grave evil such as slavery, would make the voter complicit with that evil, sharing in some degree of culpability before God for perpetuating that evil within our society.

    By focusing on the particular issues and the broad political divide in our country (and not the candidates themselves), this message is perfectly within the realm of what the bishop needs to say as our teacher and leader, while staying on the ‘correct’ side of those who would (I would argue, unconstitutionally,) silence the Church in civil discourse by threat of sanction or penalty. Please pray for our bishop as he teaches on these and other important matters for the Church in the public square. Most importantly, please take to heart the call to make sure that our votes in November are consistent with the ideals we profess as Catholics and as Americans. — Fr. Tom Donovan"

    Posted by: Jeffrey in St. Louis | Jan 4, 2013 2:12:22 PM

  14. I admit I at first laughed a little at this too. But in the end I feel bad for this guy and hope it doesn't go too viral for his sake. My father was a priest before falling in love with my mom and waiting years to be allowed to leave the priesthood without being excommunicated. People become priests very young, often for some of the same bad reasons we all take "jobs" that conflict with our lives, and often without grasping how difficult celibacy can be. And not all of them are Bible thumping, hate spewing a**holes about sex and sexuality. Really.

    Honestly, I'm glad this guy was doing something to get himself off without victimizing someone. Unless he turns out to be a grade-A hypocrite I guess I'll have to refrain from jokes, as easy as those might be.

    Posted by: Stefan | Jan 4, 2013 2:16:36 PM

  15. Part of me enjoys reading this story, but most of me feels sad for the guy who is almost certainly going through a near breakdown at the extreme public humiliation of this.

    Posted by: Me | Jan 4, 2013 2:22:07 PM

  16. This is just tooooooo 'effing funny.

    (Bless me father for I have...."click")

    Posted by: jtramon | Jan 4, 2013 2:26:01 PM

  17. @Art This is very different from what happened to Tyler Clementi. Tyler's roommate secretly taped him having sex with his boyfriend and showed the tape to a large group of his friends. This priest, who works for one of the most homophobic organizations on the planet (and is GAY if I'm to trust my gaydar), got himself into a compromising position and knowing full well of the consequences in calling 911, called them anyway. He didn't call a friend or a colleague, he called the police. If he was so obtuse that he didn't realize his little secret would be revealed after dialing 911 then that's his fault, IMHO. This priest is an educated adult in a position of power. Tyler was a young man with very little world experience who had his entire world ripped out from under him. If you need any further explanation you let me know. Ciao ciao!

    Posted by: Gigi | Jan 4, 2013 2:29:00 PM

  18. It's just that this guy's Boss tell us we are "disordered"; the Archbishop of the Anglican/Episcopal church tells us that Mass is not for us;we are told by this guy's club that we are excluded even form civil marriage not just religious marriage...........
    It is because of all this interference in our Civil Rights and all this constant whipping up public sentiment against us that when one of these scallywags gets caught we deserve to have a laugh at his expense.
    We do the same to Melman or Rikkers (Rent
    Getting knotted up in handcuffs happens all the's only funny when it happens to someone who calls us an abomination.

    PS : in the above quoted church bulletin they use the phrase "intrinsically evil".....such a phrase is pure hogwash. But then again that whole bulletin is just clap-trap.

    Posted by: JackFknTwist | Jan 4, 2013 2:33:35 PM

  19. LMAO. Okay, tax the church, but give this queen her severance. Seems like she's paid Paw-lenty!

    Posted by: Wavin' Dave | Jan 4, 2013 2:40:59 PM

  20. He's cute. I'd do it with him - assuming the pic wasn't taken 30 years ago.

    Posted by: Mi-miami | Jan 4, 2013 2:41:17 PM

  21. Autoerotic? His rentboy probably left him tied up

    Posted by: Steve | Jan 4, 2013 2:45:25 PM

  22. Oh Brother! And loving gays who just want to marry their partners are a "threat to humanity" according to the poop.

    People who "feel sorry for this guy"... READ WHAT THIS MF WROTE IN HIS CHURCH BULLETIN. According to him, you are evil.
    And a threat to humanity.

    Posted by: Dan Cobb | Jan 4, 2013 2:58:42 PM

  23. Everyone should care if anyone is in such a desperate situation as to commit suicide. Saying one doesn't care or thinking that it may even be deserved punishment is just debasing one's values to the level of the oppressor, who shout, for example, "kill the gays!". Showing compasssion and attempting to understand and forgive is a manner of demonstrating superior humanity and comapasion- and makes the bad guys look even more evil, which is an added benefit. We're suppossed to be the accepting, all-inclusive ones, not the ones that would callously condone someone's suicide, especially knowing first-hand the pain and loss it leaves behind.

    Posted by: Inor | Jan 4, 2013 3:24:57 PM

  24. Even if the pitiful, deluded man that tops himself is a first-class hypocrite at best or hatemonger at worst.

    Posted by: Inor | Jan 4, 2013 3:29:47 PM

  25. The gag and those handcuffs could be props. Some Priests / preachers like to get theatrical to drive a point.

    Posted by: Gast | Jan 4, 2013 3:34:34 PM

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