Susquehanna County Priest Has Charges Bound over

By Robert L. Baker
The Times-Tribune
April 5, 2011

MONTROSE - A monastery priest accused of sexually assaulting a teen boy has been suspended and relieved of duties, according to a statement released by the church Monday, the same day the Susquehanna County cleric had his charges bound over to county court.

The Rev. Phillip Albert Ferrara, 48, of 550 Lake of the Meadows Road, Little Meadows, waived his right to a preliminary hearing before Magisterial District Judge Jeffrey Hollister on three counts of indecent assault of a person under the age of 16 and three corruption-of-minor charges stemming from incidents that occurred between Nov. 3 and Jan. 2. All are misdemeanor counts.

According to a police affidavit, the Rev. Ferrara allegedly told a 14-year-old boy his sperm duct was blocked and was causing him intense back pain and a massage would help. The juvenile was on retreat with his family at Our Lady of Solitude monastery, 550 Lake of Meadows Drive, Apolacon Twp., at the time of the alleged incidents.

The victim said he had massaged the Rev. Ferrara's penis with his feet on two occasions, according to the affidavit.

Archbishop Cyril Bustros of the Melkite Eparchy in Newton, Mass., released a statement that upon learning of the credible occurrence of abuse of a minor, the "Rev. Ferrara was immediately suspended and relieved of all priestly duties and placed in a treatment center for evaluation." Archbishop Bustros said the church"is profoundly saddened by this event and offers deep apologies and prayers to the victim and family. The Diocese of Newton is committed to the protection of all God's children and will take swift action in responding to all allegations of abuse."

The Rev. Ferrara is free on $10,000 unsecured bail. His formal arraignment is Tuesday, April 26.

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