Erie Catholic priest charged with sex crimes against children

The longstanding tradition of clergy abuse and subsequent cover ups by religious organizations has shown itself again in Pennsylvania. A recent grand jury investigation has revealed the names of 34 priests against whom there is compelling evidence of child sexual abuse.

As part of the statewide investigation, a 64-year-old Catholic priest from Oil City has been charged with repeatedly sexually assaulting two boys, according to Penn Live. Father David Poulson, who served as a priest for approximately 40 years, faces felony charges related to sexual abuse perpetrated on many occasions against two boys starting when one of the children was eight years old, according to an announcement from Attorney General Josh Shapiro.

A pattern of abuse by a trusted figure

Evidence has emerged that the Diocese of Erie knew about Poulson's predatory behavior since at least 2010 but failed to share that critical information with authorities. Shapiro's office announced that Poulson was charged with indecent assault, endangering the welfare of children and corruption of minors.

Reflecting an all-too-familiar pattern, reports indicated that Poulson used his authority as a priest to prey on numerous boys, bribing them with gifts, assaulting them on Catholic Church property, taking them to a rural cabin to abuse them and even forcing one of the children to "confess" his sex crimes -- with himself as confessor. Authorities hope to hold accountable both Poulson and the Diocese of Erie for the extensive harm done to the children, who are now adults.

Get the confidential legal advice you need, right now

If your family has experienced the horror of abuse perpetrated by a religious leader or within a religious organization, you have the right to demand justice. Talk to an attorney with the experience, knowledge and attitude to fight for accountability on behalf of abuse victims.

The consultation is free and confidential. We focus our practice on serving victims and their families, not only in Pennsylvania but throughout the United States.

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