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Former Fryburg Priest Accused of Sexually Abusing Two Boys Waives Preliminary Hearing
HARRISBURG, Pa. — Attorney General Josh Shapiro today announced that a former Catholic priest in the Diocese of Erie waived his preliminary hearing on charges that he sexually abused two young boys over a period of many years.
The waiver by a defendant of his right to a preliminary hearing means that the prosecution can move forward and prepare its case for trial. David Poulson, 64, of Oil City, waived his right to such a hearing today. Bail was set at $300,000 cash, or 10 percent.
Poulson, a Catholic priest in the Erie diocese for four decades until earlier this year, was charged this month with indecent assault, endangering the welfare of children and corruption of minors. Three of those counts are felonies. The charges were recommended by a statewide investigating grand jury, which found that Poulson sexually assaulted the boys while employed in active ministry as a priest by the Erie diocese.
“Poulson assaulted one of his victims repeatedly in church rectories and in a secluded cabin off the grid in Jefferson County,” Attorney General Josh Shapiro said. “He made that victim go to confession and confess the abuse – to Poulson. This was the ultimate betrayal and manipulation by Poulson. Now, thanks to the work of the grand jury and our prosecutors and agents, we’re holding Poulson accountable for his crimes.”
Poulson served as a priest at St. Michael’s Church in Fryburg, Clarion County, for several years between the late 1990s and 2013.
The case is being prosecuted by Senior Deputy Attorney General Daniel J. Dye. Attorney General Shapiro asked anyone with information about sexual abuse by Poulson or any priest to contact the Office of Attorney General’s Clergy Abuse Hotline at 1-888-538-8541.
“The time of protecting powerful institutions over vulnerable children is over, and anyone who abuses kids will have to answer to my office,” Attorney General Shapiro said. “We want to hear from you if you were abused by any priest or clergy member.”
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