Maurizio Attorney: Dismiss Charges
By Phil Ray
The Altoona Mirror
September 17, 2015
After the prosecution in the child sexual abuse trial of the Rev. Joseph D. Maurizio Jr. rested its case Wednesday afternoon, the lead defense counsel, Steven P. Passarello of Altoona, asked the judge to dismiss all the charges that have been holding the 70-year-old priest behind bars for the past year.
One of the alleged victims recanted his testimony. The date of the alleged abuse of a second victim was wrongfully charged by the government and the charges for a third victim had not been proven, Passarello argued.
Photographs found in Maurizio's computer of minors either nude or only partially clothed could not be linked to Maurizio, the defense attorney said.
Several people had access to the computer at Our Lady Queen of Angels Parish in Central City, Somerset County, and the government did not show Maurizio ever looked at the photos, Passarello said as he contested a charge of possession of child pornography.
The government charged Maurizio with three counts of money laundering because he allegedly ordered funds from his charity, Humanitarian or Honduran Interfaith Ministries (it is known under both names), be sent to ProNino United States and then transferred to the ProNino orphanage in El Progreso, Honduras, for Maurizio's use as "spending money" when he made his annual trips there.