Priest Enters Guilty Plea
By Rebekah Brown
CRANTON - A suspended priest accused of performing sex
acts on a 15-year-old boy pleaded guilty to felony corruption of
The Rev. William Jeffrey Paulish of Blakely, who
served at a parish in Hazleton in the 1990s, entered the plea
Jan. 22 before Lackawanna County Judge Michael Barrasse.
The priest was arrested in September after police
found him and the teen in his car in the parking lot at Penn
State Worthington Scranton campus.
The teenager, who wasn't wearing pants when police
arrived, later told officials at the Children's Advocacy Center
of Northeast Pennsylvania he performed oral sex on the priest.
The felony charge carries a maximum sentence of seven
years in prison, according to the Rev. Paulish's attorney,
Bernard Brown, who said his client is remorseful for his
Brown said the Rev. Paulish decided to plead guilty to
"spare the victim" from the legal process and having to testify,
and that is client is now focusing on his rehabilitative needs.
The Rev. Paulish was reassigned 15 times during his 25
years as a priest in the Diocese of Scranton. One of those
assignments was at Most Precious Blood Church, Hazleton, where
he served as assistant pastor from June 1992 to June 1993.
Diocesan spokesman Bill Genello said in a statement
Jan. 22 that the Rev. Paulish "has been removed from ministry
and his faculties to exercise priestly ministry suspended" since
"With the cleric's entering a guilty plea today ... he
remains permanently suspended from ministry and the Diocese of
Scranton will continue to pursue the canonical resolution of his
status. This includes permanent dismissal from the clerical