NY Priest Sentencing Postponed

By Frank Eltman
Times Leader
April 18, 2008

The sentencing has been postponed for a defrocked Roman Catholic priest who admitted driving to what he thought would be a sex tryst with a teenage boy.

Thomas Bender faces at least five years in prison.

Bender, who also received probation in the 1980s for molesting a Pennsylvania boy, was to be sentenced for the other case on Friday, the day Pope Benedict XVI arrived in New York for his first official visit. Instead, the sentencing will be held May 8.

The pontiff has repeatedly expressed regret since his arrival in the United States earlier this week over the clergy sex abuse scandal that has rocked the American church in recent years.

Bender, 74, pleaded guilty last year to a federal charge of enticing a minor for sex. Bender, of Macungie, Pa., also faces sentencing in Nassau County on state charges related to the incident.

Although the Bender case had no direct ties to the church on Long Island, a Suffolk County grand jury report in 2003 cited abuse cases involving 23 priests over several decades in the Diocese of Rockville Centre, the sixth-largest diocese in the country. None of those cases was prosecuted because statutes of limitations had expired.


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