Priest's Computer, DNA Seized in Abuse Case
By Joseph Kohut
October 4, 2013
|The Rev. Paulish|
The Rev. Paulish
Lackawanna County detectives seized a laptop computer, samples of bodily fluid and DNA as evidence against a suspended Diocese of Scranton priest accused of sexual misconduct with a 15-year-old boy, according to search warrant inventories filed Thursday.
Detectives Chris Kolcharno and Justin Leri served the warrants against the Rev. William Paulish, 56, on Sept. 20, hours after he was caught in the backseat of his Toyota Venza in a parking lot at Penn State Worthington Scranton campus with a teenager who was not wearing pants.
Detectives took seven swabs of bodily fluid from the car's backseat. They also seized a green towel detectives believe was used to clean up bodily fluid after sex acts.
They also served a warrant on his home at 750 Third St., Blakely, and seized an HP Pavilion laptop and power cord. According to an affidavit in support of the warrant, the Rev. Paulish told police he views "Twink" pornography, which depicts teenaged boys engaged in sexual acts in various stages of nudity, detectives said.
Lackawanna County Deputy District Attorney Jennifer McCambridge declined to say what, if anything, has been found on the computer, other than generally saying investigators are analyzing forensic evidence.
"The investigation is ongoing," McCambridge said.
Dunmore police found the priest and the boy on Sept. 19 around 9 p.m. after the university's public safety phoned in a suspicious vehicle.
The Rev. Paulish initially explained he had been working on a homily when he came upon a male in crisis, but later told police he contacted the boy through Craigslist's "Casual Encounters" section. Before they engaged in sexual activity, the priest asked the boy three times if he was 18, though the original arrest affidavit does not say how he responded. McCambridge declined to say what the teenager said in response, citing it would be inappropriate to discuss case specifics prior to testimony.
Shortly after his arrest, the diocese suspended the Rev. Paulish's ministry and pledged to assist the police.
The district attorney's office and the diocese have asked additional potential victims to contact authorities at 570-963-6717.
Police charged the Rev. Paulish with involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with a person under 16, indecent assault of a person under 16, indecent exposure, corruption of minors and unlawful contact. He made bail on Sept. 24 by posting his house as collateral. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Oct. 30.
The Rev. Paulish served in several local parishes, including as assistant pastor at St. Cecilia's Parish in Exeter (1992), assistant pastor at Most Precious Blood Parish in Hazleton (1992-93); chaplain at Little Flower Manor in Wilkes-Barre (1994-2000); in residence at St. Cecilia's Parish (2006); administrator at St. Elizabeth Parish in Bear Creek (2008-11); and pastor at St. Elizabeth Parish (2010-11). At the time of his arrest, the Rev. Paulish was serving as assistant pastor at Prince of Peace Church in Old Forge. He has been on a leave of absence since Sept. 20.