Former Priest Faces Child Abuse Charges
By Brian Shane
January 10, 2013
Ocean City Police have brought child abuse and sex offense charges against a former priest, dating to an encounter with a teenage boy in the resort more than 30 years ago.
Bruno Michael Tucci, now 70, is alleged to have fondled a 15-year-old boy while on an excursion to Ocean City in August 1981. Because there is no statute of limitations on child abuse in Maryland, Tucci can still be brought up on charges.
According to court documents, Tucci allegedly inappropriately tickled and put his hands up the boy’s shorts while they were staying at the Tides Motel. A short time later, Tucci excused himself and went into the bathroom and closed the bathroom door.
The victim, now 47, also told police that Tucci asked to be called “Uncle” instead of “Father” while on the trip. Tucci would have been 38 or 39 years old at the time, police said.
The victim told police that he and his family were friends with Tucci while Tucci was a priest in Allentown, Pa., assigned to the parish in the victim’s hometown of Shenandoah, Pa. Tucci also taught at the Catholic school the victim attended.
He “could not recall any other memories of being sexually assaulted by Tucci,” court documents state, “but he was unclear about the events of the entire two or three-day trip. (The victim) said he was very angry but was unable to confront Tucci or report the incident to anyone” because priests in those days were well-respected and “beyond reproach.”
Resort police visited Tucci at his home in Salisbury, and Tucci admitted “to being aroused after wrestling and tickling (the victim) on one of the beds in the motel room,” court documents said. Tucci also told police that he’d invited the victim on the trip with the parents’ consent.
The diocese defrocked Tucci in April 2007 after having received three complaints of sexual abuse, according to court documents. One of the complaints came from the alleged victim in this case. Tucci has a court date scheduled for Jan. 16 in Ocean City District Court.