BROOKEVILLE, JEFFERSON COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced the guilty plea of a former Erie Catholic Diocese priest to charges of child sex abuse.
Shapiro says 64 year old David Poulson has plead guilty to Corruption of Minors and Endangering the Welfare of Children charges.
Shapiro says Poulson now admits to sexually abusing two young boys, an eight year old and a 15 year old. The boys were often assaulted in the church rectory after mass, or in Poulson’s hunting cabin in Jefferson County.
“Poulson used tools of his priesthood to abuse children,” said Shapiro “even making one of those victims go to confession, and seek forgiveness for being sexual assaulted. The priest who heard the confession, was Poulson himself.”
The Attorney General also says the Diocese of Erie was aware of the abuse in 2010 and stayed silent for six years.
The Most Rev. Lawrence T. Persico, bishop of Erie, issued a statement which reads: “I am very saddened by every aspect of this situation. Many hearts have been broken, particularly those of the victims and their loved ones. As we did in the Poulson prosecution, we will continue to bring all reports of sexual misconduct with minors to the immediate attention of law enforcement, and fully cooperate with them during their investigation.”
Bishop Persico was ordained and installed as the 10th Bishop of the Diocese of Erie in late 2012, some two years after the incidents occurred.
Poulson will be sentenced in about three months, he faces a maximum of 14 years in prison.