And so the Pennsylvania Catholic church sex abuse scandal continues. An Erie, Pennsylvania priest just joined the incredibly long list of priests accused of or arrested for molesting children in Pennsylvania’s Catholic churches.
The priest, David Poulson, was arrested earlier this week and now faces charges of sexually abusing two boys, who were 8 and 15 when the abuse started. One victim is now 23 years old.
The Pennsylvania Attorney General announced the arrest on May 8, 2018 via a news conference at the Erie County Courthouse and a press release on the attorneygeneral.gov website (https://www.attorneygeneral.gov/taking-action/press-releases/attorney-general-shapiro-charges-catholic-priest-in-erie-diocese-with-sexual-abuse-of-two-boys/).
David Poulson, 64, served as a priest in the Erie Diocese for roughly 40 years, until 2018. Poulson is from Oil City, which is located about 30 miles south of Erie and 50 miles north of Pittsburgh in Venango County. Father Poulson is charged with Indecent Assault, Endangering the Welfare of Children and Corruption of Minor.
According to the Attorney General’s press release, the abuse occurred while Poulson was serving as a priest and occurred in church rectories at St. Michael’s in Fryburg and St. Anthony of Padua in Cambridge Springs. The abuse is alleged to have occurred after mass, after the victims served as altar boys. Over 20 incidents are alleged. In addition, Poulson is accused of assaulting the victims at a hunting cabin owned by him and a friend in Jefferson County.
In the most important part of the Attorney General’s report, it’s alleged that the Erie Diocese knew of Poulson’s sexual tendencies as early as May 2010 but failed to report him to proper authorities until September 2016, after getting a subpoena in a grand jury investigation. In a May 2010 “secret memorandum,” leaders at the Diocese confirmed complaints made about Poulson’s conduct with minors.
The Attorney General’s report also details Poulson’s admissions about taking minors to his cabin in Jefferson County, and that he took made roughly 10 trips there with young boys. During interviews with Diocese officials, Poulson admitted he was attracted to boys and provided the names of the boys he took to the cabin. The Erie Diocese turned this information to investigators.
Call for Victims & Witnesses to Step Forward
If you have any information about sexual abuse by priests or employees of the Erie, PA Catholic Diocese, please contact our law firm for assistance. Our firm handles civil sexual abuse and assault matters on behalf of victims across the country. Call (866) 641-0806.