Former Priest Dies in Wreck
Stephen Forish Was Acquitted in 1998 of Offering Money for Sex
December 15, 2006
Nesquehoning | A former Lehigh Valley priest who had been accused of offering to pay for sex died Wednesday morning after a car wreck in Carbon County.
Nesquehoning Borough police said Monsignor Stephen Forish was traveling north on Route 93 across Broad Mountain when he lost control of his Buick LeSabre at 9:31 a.m., according to the Standard-Speaker newspaper in Hazleton, Pa.
An officer at the wreck just south of the Packer Township line said Forish might have lost control after being stricken by a medical condition. Police said the car veered into the southbound lane "and then off the road into several trees," according to the Standard-Speaker.
Carbon County Coroner Bruce Nalesnik pronounced Forish dead at the crash, police said.
The car stopped against a large oak tree, its driver's-side compartment mangled.
Forish, 61, was accused in 1996 of offering a 23-year-old man money in exchange for sexual favors. Forish had allegedly approached the man near Forish's home in the 1100 block of Mechanic Street in Bethlehem.
A jury acquitted the former priest of all charges in January 1998.
Forish was arrested again in August when he allegedly approached four people, including a man, on the street in western Pennsylvania soliciting sexual favors. He was arrested by state police in Greensburg and charged with harassment and disorderly conduct.
Forish had been living in western Pennsylvania before returning to his family home in McAdoo, Schuylkill County, after his August arrest.
Police did not charge Forish with prostitution or other sex-related crimes because he did not offer money. Forish reached a plea agreement with prosecutors last month, but the details were not disclosed at the time.
After his August arrest, the Diocese of Allentown said Forish had no longer identified himself as a member of the clergy. The diocese also indicated Forish had not been involved in active ministry since leaving a Berks County church in 2002.
When arrested in 1996, Forish had served as the diocese's pro-life coordinator.
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