Visiting Priest Pleads Guilty in Teen Altar Boy Grope

Associated Press State & Local Wire
June 18, 2003

A Catholic priest pleaded guilty Wednesday to charges that he molested a 16-year-old altar boy last year in an Upper West Side church.

Jorge Patricio Pintado, 40, pleaded guilty in Manhattan Criminal Court to endangering the welfare of a child, a misdemeanor. He admitted to Judge Richard Weinberg that he groped the teen's genitals through his pants.

Weinberg sentenced Pintado to five days of community service and a conditional discharge. This means the case will be dismissed after he does the community service and if he is not rearrested in the next year.

Pintado, a visiting Ecuadorean who lived in Queens and worked at the Good Shepherd Church in Washington Heights, was originally charged with third-degree sex abuse. He was accused of touching the youth inappropriately from June through September of 2002.

Barbara Thompson, spokeswoman for the Manhattan district attorney, said after the priest was arrested last September that he had begun giving the teen longer and tighter hugs and burying his face in the boy's neck.

Last Sept. 17 in the church's rectory, Thompson said at that time, he grabbed the front of the youth's pants and felt his genitals. The boy told his parents and they notified police, she said.

Pintado, wearing priestly garb except for the white collar when he appeared in court, could have been sentenced to a year in jail if he had gone to trial and been convicted.


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