Retired Pennsylvania Priest Accused of Forcing Boy to Perform Oral Sex - NBC Boston
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Retired Pennsylvania Priest Accused of Forcing Boy to Perform Oral Sex

The Greensburg Diocese says the 74-year-old Sweeney was removed as pastor of Holy Family Parish in West Newton in 2016 after church officials learned of the allegation

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    Retired Pennsylvania Priest Accused of Forcing Boy to Perform Oral Sex
    Gene J. Puskar/AP
    Rev. John T. Sweeney, of Greensburg, Pennsylvania, right, arrives for an appearance before District Judge Cheryl J. Peck-Yakopec, in Leechburg, Monday, July 24, 2017. Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced that Sweeney was arrested today and charged with involuntary sexual intercourse, a first-degree felony, for a sexual assault committed against a 10-year-old boy.

    A now-retired Roman Catholic priest is accused of forcing a 10-year-old Pennsylvania boy to perform oral sex on him after counseling the 4th-grader about misbehaving on a school bus.

    The state attorney general's office said Monday that the Rev. John Thomas Sweeney committed felony involuntary deviate sexual intercourse against the boy at St. Margaret Mary Elementary School in Lower Burrell.

    Prosecutors say the alleged assault occurred during the 1991-92 school year, and that the boy was given milk and cookies afterward.

    The Greensburg Diocese says the 74-year-old Sweeney was removed as pastor of Holy Family Parish in West Newton in 2016 after church officials learned of the allegation.

    Court and diocese officials were unable to identify a defense lawyer for Sweeney. Sweeney made no comment to reporters when he turned himself in.

    Sweeney continued in ministry as a priest for approximately 16 years after abusing the victim and was in contact with children on a regular basis. Sweeney was assigned to various parishes during his tenure as a priest in the Diocese of Greenburg. Sweeney’s assignments:

    1. Associate Pastor at Holy Family Church in Latrobe started on June 24, 1970

    2. Associate Pastor at Blessed Sacrament Cathedral in Greensburg started on August 8, 1975

    3. Pastor at St. Hedwig Church in Smock started on May 22, 1980

    4. Pastor at St. Mary in Freeport started on February 16, 1982

    5. Pastor at St. Margaret Mary in Lower Burrell started on August 6, 1985

    6. Pastor at St. James Parish in Apollo started on July 7, 1998

    7. Pastor at Holy Family Parish in West Newton started on October 30, 2008

    Attorney General office asked members of the public with information about sexual abuse by Sweeney or any priest to contact the Office of Attorney General’s Clergy Abuse Hotline at 1-888-538-8541. The investigation into sexual abuse by priests is ongoing.