Priest Living in NYC Is Charged in Md. with Abuse

By Kasey Jones
July 2, 2008,0,3612818.story

BALTIMORE - A Roman Catholic priest who has been living in New York City and was accused in a civil suit of molesting an altar boy seven years ago was charged Wednesday with abusing the youth in 2001 and 2002.

The Rev. Aaron Joseph Cote, 56, turned himself in to Montgomery County police in Rockville on Tuesday night. He was charged with custodian child abuse and was being held on $250,000 bond. Police did not know who his lawyer is.

According to police, the accuser says he was attending Mother Seton parish in Germantown when he was 14 and Cote was serving part time as youth minister. The former altar boy said that for about a year starting during the summer of 2001, Cote took him to an apartment in Germantown and engaged in sexual behavior and inappropriately touched him, according to investigators.

Attorney Jeff Anderson, of St. Paul, Minn., said Wednesday that his client Brandon Rains, now 21, is the accuser in the charges Wednesday. Last year, Rains received $1.2 million in the settlement of a 2005 lawsuit against the priest's religious order.

No parties admitted wrongdoing in the settlement.

The Associated Press does not usually name those who say they were abused, but Rains went public when his lawsuit was settled and his lawyer said Wednesday he could be identified.

"He is grateful Cote is charged and behind bars and can't abuse anymore," Anderson said.

Anderson said Rains first went to the police with the allegations against Cote in 2003, but charges were not filed then. Anderson said he turned over additional information to the Montgomery County state's attorney and that resulted in the current charges.

The Archdiocese of Washington said it had learned of the allegations in 2003 and it immediately reported them to the authorities.

The state's attorney's office did not immediately return a call asking for comment Wednesday.


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