Former Central Ohio Priest Charged with Child Abuse
Priest with Ohio Ties Charged in Sex Case
Maryland Officials Accuse Him of Abusing Teen, Who Later Won Civil Suit

By Meredith Heagney
Columbus Dispatch
July 2, 2008

A Catholic priest who formerly worked at three Ohio parishes, including one in Columbus, has been charged with child abuse in Maryland.

The Rev. Aaron Joseph "AJ" Cote is accused of sexually abusing a 14-year-old boy who attended the Germantown church where he served as youth minister. The boys' parents had hoped Cote would help the boy with an alcohol and drug problem, according to the prosecuting attorney for Montgomery County, Md.

Brandon Rains, now 21, won a $1.2 million civil settlement in August against Cote's Dominican order. Cote turned himself in to the Montgomery County sheriff Tuesday night, said Jeff Anderson, Rains' attorney.

The Dispatch does not generally publish the names of sexual-abuse victims, but Rains has chosen to speak publicly about Cote.

Cote worked at St. Patrick Church in Columbus and St. Joseph Church and Holy Trinity Church in Somerset from 1986 to 1989.

The Columbus diocese has asked for anyone else with accusations against Cote to come forward, but no one has, said Deacon Tom Berg Jr., vice chancellor.



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