Rector Charged Again with Involuntary Deviate Sexual Intercourse

By Tom Wilber
Press & Sun-Bulletin
February 21, 2010

OWEGO (NY) -- Another sexual abuse charge has been filed against Ralph E. Johnson, a former rector of St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Owego.

Pennsylvania State Police in Gibson have charged Johnson, 82, with involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, a felony. He is accused of sexually assaulting a mentally disabled 14-year-old boy in 2001, according to police records.

The latest charge was filed after the incident was reported to police Feb. 7 -- 3 days after Johnson was charged in another case alleging sexual abuse of a boy.

Those charges include 15 counts of deviate sexual intercourse, a felony; 15 counts of indecent assault, a misdemeanor; and 15 counts of corruption of minors, a misdemeanor. The charges stem from incidents between 1992 and 1995 at Johnson's home in Gibson Township, Pa., with a victim between the ages of 11 and 15, according to police records.

Johnson was the rector at St. Paul's from 1970 to 1977 and was active with the Episcopal church since his ordination in 1962.

In May 2006, Johnson voluntarily surrendered his ministerial orders to Gladstone B. Adams, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Central New York, without admitting guilt to sexual abuse allegations.

Johnson was banned from priestly duties, including authority to perform the sacraments, and prohibited from wearing a clerical collar.

After receiving complaints about Johnson several years ago, the diocese contacted district attorneys' offices in Broome and Susquehanna counties to report the allegations, Adams said. The denomination did not know the victim's identity at the time, making it difficult to proceed with a case, he added.

Upon learning the victim's name earlier this year, the diocese contacted state police to offer help with the investigation, Adams said.

Johnson also served as rector of Episcopal parishes in Binghamton and Windsor before he retired almost 20 years ago.



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