Rev. John Thomas Sweeney was counseling a ten year old boy about misbehaving but he really should have been addressing himself. Sweeney, who was a Roman Catholic priest before retiring after his arrest, is accused of felony involuntary deviate sexual intercourse against the boy at St. Margaret Mary Elementary School in Lower Burrell.
The assault took place during the 1991-92 school year but the victim just filed the complaint, stating that after the session, the priest forced him to give the priest oral sex. After the assault, he was given milk and cookies. (What? No candy or free puppy?)
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.
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.
The now-grown victim came forward last September. He said he had kept his secret because he worried his parents would blame themselves.
While a student in fourth grade, the boy was sent for discipline because he had been disruptive on a school bus.
According to the grand jury, Sweeney then forced the boy to perform the sex act in a conference room by the priest’s office inside the St. Margaret Mary Parish.
After the assault, Sweeney’s parish secretary brought the boy milk and cookies, the report said.
In the past, the Catholic church has covered up for priests who are also pedophiles and some continued for years before the accusations piled up against the priests and they were finally brought to justice.