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Former University of Scranton Professor Faces Sex Abuse Trial in New York

By Joshua P. Stewart
UofSNow.com [Scranton PA]
March 31, 2005

SCRANTON - Former University of Scranton professor Fr. Albert Liberatore will face trial for three felony abuse charges May 4 in a Manhattan court.

Liberatore faces a single charge of first degree sodomy which is defined by New York as "deviate sexual intercourse with another person by forcible compulsion or who is incapable of consent by reason of being physically helpless or who is less than eleven years old or who is less than thirteen years old and the actor is eighteen years old or more," and two counts of sexual abuse in the first degree which, according to New York statute, is sexual contact by force or threat of force.

According to New York penal statutes, if convicted of any of the charges, Liberatore would have to register as a sex offender. The sodomy charge carries up to a 25 year imprisonment. The two abuse charges carry up to seven year imprisonments each.

In May 2004 Liberatore was arrested in Lackawanna County following allegations that he sexually abused a former altar boy from his parish, the Sacred Heart of Jesus Church in Duryea. According to documents from Luzurne County district attorney David Lupas, multiple incidents of sexual abuse occurred in Liberatore's office in St. Thomas Hall.

The allegations were the result of an investigation in Luzurne and Lackawanna Counties initiated by the Diocese of Scranton, Luzurne County district attorney records say.

On July 15, 2004, Lupas filed against Liberatore charges of indecent assault, multiple charges of corruption of minors, a charge of endangering the welfare of children and a charge of furnishing liquor to a minor, documents say. Later that day, charges were also filed in Manhattan.

In November, the alleged victim filed a civil suit in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania that sought damages from Liberatore, Former Bishop of Scranton James Timlin, former University of Scranton Student Brother Antonio Antonucci, Fr. Joseph R. Kopacz and the Diocese of Scranton.

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