Priest's Trial on Charge of Fondling 14-Year-Old Postponed
By Michael Zeigler
Democrat and Chronicle [Rochester NY]
April 4, 2006
(April 4, 2006) — A judge postponed the trial Monday for a Roman Catholic priest charged with fondling a 14-year-old boy.
Jury selection had been scheduled to begin in the trial of the Rev. Dennis R. Sewar, 54, who is accused of a misdemeanor of third-degree sexual abuse for allegedly touching the boy's clothed genitals in 1999.
But Rochester City Court Judge John E. Elliott indefinitely postponed the trial to give Sewar's lawyer time to look over a police report and a handwritten statement by the alleged victim that was turned over to the prosecution last week. The prosecution, in turn, gave a copy to the defense.
Sewar will return to court April 26 for possible legal arguments on whether the new material can be used at trial.
Sewar is charged with abusing the boy while a pastor of Church of the Annunciation in northeast Rochester. If convicted, he could face a penalty ranging from probation to 90 days in jail.
Sewar also faced a more serious charge of forcible touching, but Elliott dismissed it in February after finding insufficient evidence and ruling that the law didn't exist when the incident is alleged to have occurred in 1999. The law took effect in 2001.
Sewar, who most recently served a parish in Spencerport, is on administrative leave.
The Rev. Dennis Sewar will return to court April 26 for possible legal arguments on whether the new material can be used in his trial. Judge John E. Elliott may set a new trial date then.
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