Priest Arrested on Sex Crimes in Erie; Diocese at Time Was LED by Buffalo Native
By Mike McAndrew
May 8, 2018
A priest in the Diocese of Erie was charged Tuesday with committing sex crimes against two boys, and the Pennsylvania attorney general said the diocese covered up the priest's sexual predator tendencies for six years.
The Rev. David Poulson, 64, of Oil City, Pa., a priest in the Erie diocese for four decades until earlier this year, was charged with indecent assault, endangering the welfare of children and corruption of minors. His victims were 8 years old and 15 years old when the abuse started, according to Attorney General Josh Shapiro.
The Diocese of Erie knew since at least May 2010 of Poulson’s sexual predator tendencies but did not report him to authorities until September 2016 when it received a subpoena from a grand jury, Shapiro said. The diocese had kept secret a May 2010 memorandum in which diocesan leaders confirmed complaints had been made about Poulson’s inappropriate contact with minors and Poulson admitted being “aroused” by a boy, and sharing sexually suggestive texts with other boys.
The Erie Diocese was led by Bishop Donald W. Trautman – a former auxiliary bishop of the Buffalo Diocese and a Buffalo native – for 22 years until he retired in 2012.
Shapiro renewed his call for abolishing Pennsylvania's criminal statute of limitations for sex crimes against children.
The grand jury investigation of dioceses in Pennsylvania comes at a time when a sexual abuse scandal is also rocking the Diocese of Buffalo. The diocese released in March a list of 42 priests against whom credible allegations of sexual misconduct involving minors had been lodged. At least 59 priests who have worked in the Buffalo Diocese have been linked to sex allegations, according to a list compiled by The Buffalo News.
Buffalo Bishop Richard J. Malone reopened Monday an investigation into allegations that the Rev. Fabian J. Maryanski had sexual contact with a female parishioner of St. Patrick Church in Barker starting when the girl was 15. He took that action after The News reported Sunday that Maryanski had been assigned to work in parishes for more than a decade after the woman, Stephanie McIntyre, lodged a complaint against Maryanski in 1995.
Maryanski was not on the list the diocese released of 42 accused priests.
Meanwhile, Catholic bishops have spent on average $300,000 a year lobbying lawmakers in New York on a variety of topics, including against passage of the Child Victims Act, which would change the statute of limitations on civil and criminal cases of child sexual abuse and allow victims a one-year window to sue over potentially decades-old allegations. The bill was passed by the State Assembly but has never been voted upon by the Senate.