Mother, Boy Testify against Erie Priest

Erie Times-News
May 18, 2011

Charges against a suspended priest of the Catholic Diocese of Erie were bound over for trial this morning after the mother of a 15-year-old boy testified that the priest showered her son with gifts and pursued an inappropriate relationship with the boy against her wishes.

The Rev. Samuel B. Slocum, 59, now faces trial on felony charges of interference with the custody of children and concealment of the whereabouts of a child, and misdemeanor counts of corruption of minors and loitering and prowling at night following the preliminary hearing before Bradford District Judge Richard W. Luther Jr.

Luther dismissed a single count of criminal trespass that stemmed from allegations that Luther had dropped off a present for the boy at the boy's home late at night.

Slocum's lawyer, David Ridge, argued that Slocum had never been barred from the boy's home. Ridge also asked that all charges against Slocum be dismissed for lack of evidence.

Exercising "bad judgment, especially with 20/20 hindsight, is not in the criminal code," Ridge said,

Luther denied the motion.

Slocum taught at Cathedral Preparatory School from 1985 to 1989 and served as a weekend assistant at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Erie. He is free after posting $5,000 bond.

At the hearing, the boy's mother testified that she became concerned in the fall of 2010 that her son was spending too much time with Slocum at his residence, which was in her neighborhood in Lewis Run, south of Bradford.

She said she first wrote Slocum a letter in January telling her son was not permitted to visit Slocum. She said after she learned in February that the two had continued to have contact and that Slocum had lied to her about it, she told him to have no further contact with her son. She said he refused, telling her he could not "end it" with her son that way. He insisted he would contact her son, the woman said, until she threatened to contact the Erie diocese.

"He said, 'You got me. I can't argue with that,'" she said.

The woman said she reported Slocum to police, not church authorities, after discovering that Slocum continued to communicate with her son.

Slocum had given the boy two iPhones, an iPod, an Apple computer, and allowed him to communicate with him on the church's Wi-Fi connection, the boy testified. Slocum had also purchased a sweatshirt for the boy from Abercrombie & Fitch.

Slocum has been placed on a leave of absence and was relieved of his duties at two McKean County Catholic churches after he was charged.

Turn to Thursday's Erie Times-News and for more coverage.



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