State

Retired priest pleads guilty to child sexual abuse

GREENSBURG, Pa. (WHTM) - A now-retired Roman Catholic priest in the Diocese of Greensburg has pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a 10-year-old boy.

The state attorney general's office said the Rev. John Thomas Sweeney pleaded guilty to one count of indecent assault at a hearing Tuesday in Westmoreland County Court.

Sweeney, 75, was indicted last year by a statewide grand jury investigating allegations of child sexual abuse by priests and clergy in six Catholic dioceses in Pennsylvania, including Harrisburg.

According to the grand jury’s presentment, Sweeney forced the boy to perform oral sex at St. Margaret Mary Elementary School in Lower Burrell. The fourth-grader had been sent to Sweeney for discipline because he had been disruptive on a school bus. 

Prosecutors say the assault occurred during the 1991-92 school year.

Sweeney was removed as pastor of Holy Family Parish in West Newton after church officials learned of the allegation in 2016.


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