Former Delaware priest charged with child rape dies months before trial

Delaware News Journal

July 25, 2018

By Xerxes Wilson

John A. Sarro, a former priest with the Catholic Diocese of Wilmington indicted earlier this year on charges that he raped a pre-teen girl decades ago, has died.

Sarro died Monday, six months before a scheduled trial in New Castle County Superior Court. A spokesman for the Wilmington Diocese confirmed his death Wednesday.

He was accused of fondling and raping a girl who court documents indicated was younger than 16 years old between 1991 and 1994 when the abuse is said to have occurred. He was a pastor at St. Helena Parish in Bellefonte at the time.

Sarro was 76 when he was indicted on charges of first-degree unlawful sexual intercourse and second-degree unlawful sexual contact in January. The crimes listed in his indictment were the law when the abuse is said to have occurred and were the precursors to Delaware’s current rape statute.

He pleaded not guilty in February. With his death, those charges will be dropped, said Carl Kanefsky, Department of Justice spokesman.

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