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— "I always liked Rudy," says Bob, who runs the Postal Convenience Center on El Cajon Boulevard and Louisiana. I'd hoped this address would turn out to be Reverend Kos's apartment. Instead it's just a dropbox.

Bob tells me he became suspicious when great reams of legal documents started flowing in addressed to Kos. "I knew something mysterious was going on in his life," says Bob. "That's pretty obvious when somebody's getting mail like that constantly...."

Richard Kos Jr.'s voice is a little crackly. He's talking from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. "It's been 11 years since I've seen my uncle," he says. "It was a family reunion. Down in Texas. Yeah, he's likable. He's a very intelligent person. But as far as the [molestation charges] go, I don't know much about that."

Then Richard Jr. describes a cold, unstable family upbringing for his dad, Richard Sr., and uncles Tom and Rudy. "Their mother left them when my dad was five. They were sent to an orphanage. And then my grandfather remarried and got the kids back. I know it left a mark on my dad. Rudy was two years older. He kind of ruled the roost. My dad, I haven't spoken to him for years because I knew the things he was into. I knew he would end up in jail. He has. Selling crystal meth."

Both of Rudy's brothers, Richard Sr. and Tom, testified by videotape at the civil trial that their older brother the priest had sexually assaulted them when they were growing up.

Tom Economus of Linkup, who himself grew up being abused by a priest, says the danger of Rudy Kos lies in his intelligence and charm. "My experience has taught me that most pedophiles are very bright, very intelligent, and very charismatic. Which is how they get to these children. They zero in on children from broken homes or from homes with family problems or who are very insecure. And then all of a sudden the Reverend Father becomes the great salvation to this child, and at the same time it's a manipulation, a course of action which is being set up by him which then goes into the molestation.

"The Roman Catholic Church is so sexophobic. They just do not talk about sex. They don't even have healthy parameters for discussions about sex. Along with that, when you have a celibate structure, it's a great hiding place for pedophiles. And that has happened more and more. The Catholic Church would like to say, 'It's only a small percentage that have snuck in.' Well, I have enough data in my database to prove that it's 10 percent - that we know of! - of the priesthood."

Economus says it gets worse. "There are 188 dioceses in the [U.S.] Roman Catholic Church: every single one of them has been nailed with multiple [abuse] lawsuits. At one time there were six or seven priests who all ended up in San Diego that had allegations of child abuse against them. For the longest time we always thought that San Diego was kind of a dumping ground, nationally."

Economus says the Church's M.O. is to settle nearly all cases. "Only 5 percent of these cases ever make it to trial," he says. Even so, in the last 12 years, he claims, the Church has paid out over $600 million, just in the 5 percent of lawsuits, with pending cases threatening to exceed another $500 million. Some 200-plus priests, he says, have been imprisoned over the last 15 years for sex offenses. "And still the Church doesn't do anything to address the problem. It just amazes me. If it was ibm or Xerox, it would have been handled and fixed in months!"

Kos told the Dallas Morning News he shares a one-bedroom apartment here with a 38-year-old man but says he's celibate. "I haven't had sex in two years," he was reported as saying. He also said that the San Diego chapter of Dignity, an organization of gay Catholics not recognized by the Church, had offered him the chance to say Mass. He turned them down, but "if they asked me again, I probably would."

Mike Bekemeier, president of Dignity San Diego, says he has never heard of Rudy Kos in his five-year involvement with the group. "I'm pretty sure he hasn't been asked - at least officially - by the San Diego chapter."

I've given up trying to find Rudy Kos. But shouldn't the police be keeping an eye on him? "There are 70,000 sex offenders in California, 4800 in San Diego County," says Archambault of sdpd's Sex Crimes Unit. "All of them have to register. The ones that we will disclose to the public [after Megan's Law takes effect July 1] are 'high risk' and 'serious' categories. But right now, Rudy Kos isn't any of them. He hasn't even been proven guilty yet! The community might suspect, or the church might have defrocked him, but until he's proven guilty in a criminal court, he's not required to register with me. In this country, he's still innocent."

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