Catholic priest charged with sexual abuse of 2 boys

Rev. David Poulson Erie priest

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro on Tuesday announced the arrest of Poulson, 64, of Oil City, on charges he sexually assaulted two boys over the course of many years.

The Diocese of Erie knew since at least May 2010 of Poulson's sexual predator tendencies but did not report him to authorities until September 2016 when it received a subpoena from a grand jury, Shapiro said.

Shapiro said that the grand jury first learned about the abuse by Poulson after a military chaplain at Fort Hood, Texas, phoned the Erie diocese earlier this year and said the first alleged victim - now 23 - had disclosed he was sexually abused by Poulson as a child. Three of the charges against Poulson - indecent assault on a person under age 13, endangering the welfare of children and corruption of minors - are graded as third-degree felonies.

Prosecutors say that the Erie Diocese had received complaints regarding that which they say were Poulson's "sensual predator trends" as far back as 2010. But he remained an active priest until about two months ago.

Bishop Lawrence Persico claims that the diocese grew to become alert to their allegations resulting in the prices in January.

Poulson allegedly abused one of his victims in multiple church rectories more than 20 times while he served as an altar boy, according to a release from the Attorney General's Office. "They did nothing to alert other parishioners, especially parishioners who had young children", Shapiro said at a news conference Tuesday.

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Shapiro said the abuse and cover-up largely occurred under a previous bishop's tenure.

The grand jury presented its findings with respect to the investigation. He also says he immediately turned the matter to law enforcement and has collaborated together with all the attorney general's workplace.

"These victims are remarkably fearless young men - who have struggled with the trauma of Poulson's abuse for years", Attorney General Shapiro said. "I spent a lot of years thinking this was all my fault, that I drew him to me or some insane stuff, I'm no longer in that vein, I know I was abused", VanSickle said.

A former Catholic leader in the Buffalo diocese is accused of covering up misconduct for a priest in Erie, Pennsylvania. Poulson supplied the boys with gifts, cash, dinners and alcohol, Shapiro said. Poulson's assignments included serving as Pastor of four different parish churches, including St. Agnes in Morrisdale, St. Michael's in Fryburg, St. Anthony of Padua in Cambridge Springs, and St. Bernadette, also in Cambridge Springs.

Shapiro renewed his call for abolishing Pennsylvania's criminal statute of limitations for sex crimes against children.

But when Persico took over in 2012, Trautman updated him only on cases regarding other members of the clergy, who Persico said have since died or left the church. The office's investigation into sexual abuse by priests and other clergy is ongoing. Both of the victims interviewed in the case said some of the abuse had happened at the cabin.

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