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Philadelphia priest will finally be prosecuted for child sex abuse

Cases of child sexual abuse by priests, teachers, coaches and other trusted adults are far too common. Last week, we wrote about a Pennsylvania priest who was recently arrested and now faces several criminal charges related to sexual acts with an underage teen. In light of the criminal charges, many are now scrutinizing the priest's work history, during which he was frequently moved around to different parishes.

Late last month, a Philadelphia priest was arrested and charged for alleged sexual abuse of an altar boy that took place between 1998 and 2001. The victim is now 26 years old, which means the abuse allegedly occurred between the ages of 11 and 14.

This is certainly not the first time the 75-year-old priest has been accused of sexual abuse. In 2005, the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office tried to build a case against him for previous sex crimes involving at least 20 child victims. Unfortunately, the priest could not be prosecuted because all cases were beyond the statute of limitations. To add further insult, the archdiocese allowed him to remain a priest and he was not defrocked.

Thankfully, the most recent victim to come forward is within the statute of limitations, which means that the priest can no longer avoid prosecution. He is facing charges including rape, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, and aggravated indecent assault for incidents that allegedly included finger penetration and oral sex.

One of the most distressing ironies in any sex abuse case is that the victims often feel shame, embarrassment and fear, even though they did nothing wrong. Thankfully, those who find the courage to speak up not only help themselves; they also help other victims.

Commenting on the recent charges, the district attorney said: "It takes tremendous courage for any sexual assault victim to come forward and report the horrors he or she endured. . . A serial abuser is now behind bars thanks to the brave actions of this young man."

Hopefully, the victim will choose to pursue a civil lawsuit against this priest as well as criminal charges. 

Source: CNN, "Philly priest accused of raping altar boy," Ross Levitt, Sept. 27, 2013

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