Priest Says Abuse Never Happened

By Chalonda Roberts
WHAM [Rochester NY]
August 2, 2005

The Rev. Dennis Sewar says he is not guilty in the charges of molesting a 14-year-old boy, and offered no comment as he left court Tuesday.

His attorney, John Speranza, said the charges of sexual abuse will be defended vigorously.

Speranza said, "He denies the charges…indicates that they never happened."

In court documents, the teen boy claims he met Sewar while Sewar was a priest at the Church of the Annunciation on Norton Street in Rochester. He said they became friends during a church trip to the Hard Rock Cafe in Canada.

The teenager claims that after the trip, Sewar invited him to his room in the rectory.

In a statement to police the accuser wrote: "After a few weeks Fr. Dennis would rub my hand as we sat on a double-sized recliner. At first I felt okay but after a couple of weeks I became uncomfortable with this and would pull my hand away from him. Sometimes he would let me be, but other times he would grab my hand back and continue to rub it."

The youth went on to say that later in the year Sewar fondled him.

Sewar's attorney questions why the alleged victim took so long to come forward.

The youth stated, "I was afraid to get Fr. Dennis mad. He was like a father figure to me and I did not want to upset him."

Speranza said of Sewar, "His state of mind is strong…the charges are old, from 1999 to perhaps 2001. These charges are four years maybe going on five years old now."

Sewar was most recently a priest at St. John the Evangelist in Spencerport. He was on personal leave when charges were filed. He is now on administrative leave from the Roman Catholic Diocese.

He will be back in court in three weeks.