After years of being in hiding and living a “life off the rock,” former priest Dave Stone who went by “Father” Francis Mary Stone, MFVA of EWTN has surfaced once again. As with many priests who leave the priesthood out of lust, Stone is in the news in a negative light. He is going through a big divorce with the mistress Christina Presnell who led him away from the Church and EWTn and has even fathered a child.
Moreover, he is being accused of sexually abusing his own child. Stone, 54 denies the allegations. He is accused of penetrating his son’s anus with his finger causing the boy to defecate due to the size of the finger causing the inferior anal nerves to trigger peristaltic waves forcing the feces out. Stone was arrested on October 9, 2013 and was out on a $150,000 bond. Clinical psychologist Alan Blotcky who evaluated both Stone and his ex-wife Christina Presnell wrote in a reported, “Dave’s psychological evaluation does not even hint at a person who is capable of abuse. It is implausible. Stone is fully capable of being a healthy and competent parent.”
David Lawrence Stone met Christina Presnell in 1998 when she worked at EWTN. He was a freshly ordained priest and became a spiritual adviser and confessor to her. The relationship became flirtatious eventually leading to a sexual one in 2001. Both kept the relationship a secret until Presnell became pregnant. She was fired in 2008 by EWTN and stone (Fr. Francis Mary Stone at the time) was put on leave of absence until he announced that he would be re-evaluating his vocation. Presnell has other children from previous relationships.
The situation is disturbing indeed and shows why men considering the priesthood must go through heavy discernment before considering a vocation to the priesthood. Dave Stone when he was “Father Francis” seemed like he was hiding something. I recall seeing him at a March for Life in Washington DC and he did not say hi to anyone around him. Some recognized him and said hi and he just looked slightly nervous and serious. It is unfortunate that EWTN has faced many wayward vocations. Other priests have left the Missionaries of Eternal Word. Both Fathers John Klobucar and Augustine Mary left. John went on to marry and Augustine (now Fr. James Hedderman)is now a diocesan priest is working in the Diocese of Birmingham. He is serving at Good Shepherd Church in Huntsville, Alabama. Other friars also left, including brother Rafael who was a tall heavy set friar often serving as a lector.
Stories like this can affect the faith of some, but it should not. Human beings are weak. We all fall, sin, make mistakes etc. The disciples had their share of human weakness recorded in the Gospel. We must pray for one another and pray for those considering a vocation and those who answered one. Being ordained or taking vows does not make one perfect or impeccable. It is sad Dave Stone chose this life, but he is an adult and must now reap what he has sowed. His life was not on the rock and now is on sand. Let us keep him, the friars who left, Corapi, Alberto Cutie and others in our prayers. They may have abandoned God and the Catholic Church, but God has not abandoned them.