Pa Priest Accused of Sexual Contact

By Matt Markham
March 18, 2011

Middletown Twp., PA (WBNG Binghamton) A man trusted for spiritual guidance is accused of taking advantage of that trust. The priest from Susuqehanna County is said to have forced a fourteen year old boy to touch him.

Our Lady of Solitude Retreat Center should be a place of peace.

But for a fourteen year old boy, it could have been just the opposite.

47 year-old Phillip Ferrara, a Greek Catholic Priest, is accused of forcing a boy to touch him sexually there.

The investigation says he forced a boy to massage him with oil several times since last year.

"The victim notified his mother, who in turn contacted State Police and the investigation was initiated in February," said Trooper Bill Satkowski, Pennsylvania State Police.

Ferrara turned himself in at the State Police Barracks in Gibson and was arraigned in Montrose.

Ferrara had nothing to say as he was released.

The allegations against the priest center around a retreat house on an isolated area of Lake O'Meadows Road near Little Meadows. Neighbors we spoke to are shocked."

"That's really messed up. Yeah. I didn't really believe it but I guess, yeah, it's weird," said Billy Gana, who lives near the Retreat Center and knew the priests there.

"They were always nice guys. I know my mom and dad actually knew them somewhat," Gana said.

"There are other priests that are there. He's stationed there full time but there are other priests that come and go, Satkowski said."

Troopers say no other victims have come forward but that the nature of the case is troublesome.

"We can't help but think that the victims are put in a difficult situation but, at the same time, how frustrating it must be for priests who do good work every day and have something like this happen," Satkowski said.

...and for the trust the faithful put in those they follow.

Ferrara will re-appear in district court in Montrose on Monday for a preliminary hearing.

He was released on his own recognizance.


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