Priest convicted of sexual assault pays $70,000 in fines
By Torsten Ove
April 5, 2016
A Catholic priest convicted of molesting orphans in Honduras has paid $70,000 in court-ordered fines and restitution costs that were the subject of a tussle with the U.S. Attorney’s office last week.
Federal prosecutors had asked for a judge to freeze $1.2 million in assets held by Joseph Maurizio because they said he hadn’t paid the fine and they feared he was trying to transfer money and property to a relative.
But his lawyers have produced papers showing he has paid the money and U.S. District Judge Kim Gibson in Johnstown last week rejected the freeze request as moot.
Maurizio, 70, was sentenced March 1 to 17 years in federal prison and ordered to pay the fines within 10 days of sentencing. Prosecutors said he didn’t and also said he had deeded 42 acres in Paint Township and Windber to relatives for $1. In addition, Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephanie Haines said he had told his niece in a recorded jailhouse call that he intended leave his accounts with a “zero balance.”
But Maurizio’s lawyers later produced documents indicating he’d paid the money, saying there was no “malicious intent to not comply” with the judge’s order.
Rather, they said, the failure to pay was “simply a misunderstanding between counsel and defendant’s power of attorney as this case was transitioning appeal.”
Maurizio was convicted of using his self-run charity in Johnstown for trips to Honduras to visit the ProNino orphanage, where federal agents said he molested boys.
He has indicated he will appeal the conviction to the U.S. 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals.