Former priest once tasked with protecting area kids, now charged with sexually assaulting one

WTOP-FM, 103.5 MHz [Washington D.C.]

December 28, 2021

By Jessica Kronzer

The former director of the Arlington Diocese Office of Child Protection and Safety, Terry Specht, is facing charges for allegedly sexually assaulting a minor, according to Virginia’s attorney general.

The 69-year-old former priest of Donegal, Pennsylvania, served as the director of the Arlington Diocese Office of Child Protection and Safety between 2004 and 2011.

A Fairfax County grand jury indicted Specht on a pair of felony charges: aggravated sexual battery of a child under the age of 13 and sexual abuse of a child whom a custodial or supervisory relationship existed.

The abuse allegedly occurred between March and September in 2000.

“Children should always feel comfortable around religious leaders in their life, without fear that they could somehow hurt them,” Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring said in a news release.

“I want to encourage any Virginian who may have information about this or any other instance of clergy abuse to please come forward. No matter how long ago the incident occurred, we will take it seriously and make sure that you get the help and support you deserve.”

Specht was accused of the abuse in 2019 and his trial is scheduled for October 2022.

The charges are part of an ongoing investigation into sexual abuse by clergy in Virginia’s Catholic dioceses by Herring and state police.

Specht is the third defendant being charged as apart of that investigation.

The investigation includes a hotline and website which can be used to report information about abuse in this case or other instances: 833-454-9064 and