Pennsylvania priest sent to prison after guilty plea in abuse case

Catholic News Service

December 27, 2018

By Dennis Sadowski

A priest who once served in the Diocese of Greensburg, Pennsylvania, was sentenced to prison for sexually molesting a boy in the 1990s.

Father John T. Sweeney, 76, received a sentence of 11 months to five years in state prison and must register as a sex offender for 10 years, a judge in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, said Dec. 21.

The priest pled guilty in July to misdemeanor indecent assault on a minor after he was accused of abusing a 10-year-old boy while counseling him about misbehaving on a school bus.

Fr. Sweeney, who retired in 2016, is the first priest convicted of charges stemming from a Pennsylvania grand jury investigation that focused on allegations of abuse. He was arrested in July 2017 for the incident that occurred during the 1991-92 school year at St. Margaret Mary School in Lower Burrell, about 25 miles northeast of Pittsburgh.

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