April 5, 1914
DR. PRICE IS CALLED TEMPTER BY WIDOW
Mrs. Dohl Tells at Trial of Stolen Kisses and Overtures by Pastor.
MISS EST CREATES SCENE
Girl I.W.W. Agitator Tries to Break Into Trial Room--Talks of Violence.
The select committee of Methodist ministers trying the Rev. Dr. Jacob Embury Price, accused of kissing women of his congregation, heard yesterday the story of Mrs. Helena Dohl, whose testimony was not allowed on Friday.
Mrs. Dohl, a widow who makes dresses, told the ministers that she called on Dr. Price at the parsonage of the Washington Heights Methodist Church in 1911. He met her, she said, and then led her to a couch and asked her to sit down and put his arm about her.
"I told the court that he kissed me then and said that we should be a comfort to each other," Mrs. Dohl said afterward. "I was frightened and burst into tears and ran away from him.
"Later two members of the congregation called upon me and told me that if I appeared against Dr. Price I would week and wish myself dead.
Sought Advice In Bible, She Says.
"I was in great trouble over it, so I opened the Bible at a chance to see what counsel it would give me. I opened at Proverbs xxiv., and the first words I saw were verses 24 and 25, reading:
" 'He that saith unto the wicked, thou art righteous: him shall the people curse, nations shall abhor him.
" 'But to them that rebuke him shall be delight, and a good blessing shall come upon them.'
"I told the ministers about these verses and they seemed startled. They got out the big church Bible and looked up the passages and then sent for the persons who threatened me."
Mrs. Dohl is to be heard again tomorrow. After she testified the defence put on the stand members of Dr. Price's congregation who testified to his good character.
Ephraim Hill denied that he had threatened Mrs. Dohl or tried in any way to prevent her telling her story.
E. W, Lincoln of Dunlap & Co., Walter R. Comfort, N. B. Sprague, E. B. Treat, publisher, Thomas Hicks and Frank Moss, Dr. Price's counsel, were heard in the pastor's behalf.
Woman Calls Accusers Gossips.
A wealthy woman member of Dr. Price's congregation testified that she knew the women who had appeared against him and that they were gossips who had long been intimate friends and went making common cause against Dr. Price.
William Bruce, whose wife was among the first to hear the stories about Dr. Price, declared that the attitude of the court had completely changed over night.
"I thought they were going to whitewash Dr. Price," he said to a Sun man, "but I do not think now they will dare treat the charges lightly. Today for the first time the committee has been polite and considerate toward accusing witnesses. Hitherto we have not had a fair hearing. I think the change is entirely due to publicity given to the case in the newspapers."
Dr. Price, who will take the stand tomorrow to wind up his defence, would not discuss the case. He spoke with enthusiasm of his own part in founding and naming the Epworth League, before which he is to speak this afternoon, and spoke of this present troubles only with the phrase:
"Hooray. hooray for our country!"
Talks of Nearness to 'Real Animus.'
One of the members of the committee said after the day's session was over:
"The significant thing is not the number of women appearing against Dr. Price or the fact that they come from other places than New York. The notable thing is that they are, or were, all of a single congregation. No member of any of Dr. Price's other congregations has appeared against him.
"We are just digging down to the real animus beneath those charges. We have not brought it completely to light yet. Mr. Hill completely explained away the appearance of his having tried to silence Mrs. Doh.
"It would be improper for me to tell you what we know or what opinion I have formed, but if you knew what we knew you would understand why these charges have been brought.
"Not one woman has testified that Dr. Price was guilty of improper conduct with her. The worst that is charged is that he kissed and hugged them, it is a terrible thing and the mere accusations hurt Dr. Price beyond repair. He may seem jolly, but he feels this very much indeed."
Jane Est. who has made I. W. W. speeches in Rutgers Square, tried to break into the trial room in the morning and drew such a crowd that police reserves had to be called to restore order.
Miss Est Urges Violence.
Miss Est couldn't get past the doorkeeper, who, however, had to put his whole weight against the door to keep her out. She shouted loud and long.
Then she went out on the steps of the Metropolitan Temple, where the trial was going on, and told a rapidly growing audience that she would like to tar and feather Dr. Price.
"They say he fascinates women," said Miss Est. "Fascinates them! What do you think of that? I'd like to have him kiss me! And they try him in secret! Why don't you men break into that room? Do you suppose it is decent for a woman to have to appear against that old hugger."
"How dare you talk like that?" inquired the Rev. Dr. Frank J. Belcher of the Five Points Mission, who had come from the trial room at Miss Est's summons.
"Dr. Price isn't on trial," Miss Est shouted back at him. "The Church is on trial. Ecclesiasticism is on trial." Dr. Belcher disappeared. Miss Est went into one of the witness rooms and yelled and yelled. When the police came she said she was going up to the Eighteenth Street Methodist Church and "address the conference." She started, but word of her intention preceded her and she didn't get in.