Police say priest admitted to foot and strangulation fetish

By Mark Guydish
April 15, 2014

SCRANTON — The priest charged with plying a 13-year-old with alcohol and fondling her feet and legs admitted to struggling “with a pantyhose, feet, strangulation and chloroform fetish,” according to police documents.

In an affidavit written as part of a search warrant application, Scranton Police detective Jennifer Gerrity also wrote that Rev. Philip Altavilla “indicated that he took photographs of the victim’s feet,” apparently referring to the 13 year old allegedly assaulted Christmas morning 1998, “in addition to photos of other teenage girls feet. He kept the photos in a bag at his residence.”

Altavilla, 48 and raised in Plains Township, “also admitted that he uses the internet to research videos and images depicted woman being strangulated, given chloroform and then sexually assaulted.”

The paperwork says Altavilla gave written permission for Gerrity and detective Vince Uher to search his residence,where they seized a computer and cellular phone. “A message appeared on the screen “in plain view of Uher … and indicated that the author has been haunted for years, I still remember waking up with you.

“Nothing further was visible,” the affidavit says, “but based on the training and experience o detective Uher and Detective Gerrity the content indicated possible sexual abuse.”

The paperwork notes analyzing computers and other equipment can take weeks. Altavilla has been relieved of all priestly duties in the Diocese of Scranton following the April 3 arrest. His preliminary hearing is set for April 25.



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