Two priests fired after alleged sexual abuse and inappropriate contact with minors
February 13, 2018
The Diocese has announced that two priests, Father David Poulson, 64, and Father Sean Kerins, 27, have been removed from the Erie Catholic Diocese. According to a memo from the Diocese, the two have been "prohibited from any public ministry, as well as from any contact with minors".
They tell us the situations are unrelated. In the case of Poulson, who was the pastor of St. Anthony of Padua Parish in Cambridge Springs, the Diocese received what they said they believe "to be credible allegations against [him] regarding the sexual abuse of minors". A preliminary independent investigation is ongoing and the matter has been "turned over to law enforcement". Monsignor Robert Brugger, former pastor of Saint Anthony Parish, will take over Poulson's parish, effective immediately".
In the case involving Father Sean Kerins, Chaplain at Kennedy Catholic High School in Hermitage and Church of the Good Shepherd Parish in West Middlesex, Kerins allegedly inappropriately texted a student at Kennedy. Law enforcement has been informed and a preliminary independent investigation is complete. After the findings of the investigation, the Diocese concluded that the text messages were, in fact, inappropriate according to diocesan and school standards. Kerins has been removed and ordered to have no contact with minors while law enforcement conducts their own investigation.
Professional counselors are available to the children at the school today.
In a letter to KCHS families, Father Jason Glover, President, said, "As painful as the news is, we took swift and decisive action in this matter. We are committed to maintaining your trust in the Kennedy Catholic Family of Schools and its commitment to the safety and well-being of our students".
Reverand Lawrence T. Persico, Bishop of Erie, said he was shocked and disappointed, saying, "my heart aches for the victims and their families... Priests are rightly held to a high standard, so it was especially devastating for me to learn of both situations. I know all Catholics, including our priests, are deeply wounded by this behavior".
The Diocese is asking that anyone with information, in either case, to step forward.