Priest facing 64 years in prison for molesting boys at remote cabin he owns with police sergeant
Father David Poulson, from the Diocese of Erie (left) and mugshot (right). Composite image.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced criminal charges against a Catholic priest for sexual abuse committed against two young boys, the state's top prosecutor announced Tuesday.


For four decades, Father David Poulson, 64, served as a Catholic priest. He was removed from ministry by the Diocese of Erie in February.

Father Poulson was charged with felony counts of indecent assault, endangering the welfare of children and corruption of minors.

"Poulson was being held Tuesday on $300,000 cash bail," the Associated Press reported. "He faces a maximum of 64 years, if convicted, and $135,000 in fines."

According to Attorney General Shapiro, Poulson "used the tools of the priesthood to further his abuse."

“Poulson assaulted one of his victims repeatedly in church rectories,” Shapiro said at a news conference. “He made that victim go to confession and confess the abuse – to Poulson. This was the ultimate betrayal and manipulation by Poulson."

Charging documents (PDF) also detail alleged abuse at a remote cabin the defendant owns with Sergeant Mark Bettwy of the Pennsylvania State Police.

"Poulson estimated that he took 20 trips to the cabin and that approximately one-half of those trips were made in the company of minor boys. All of the trips with the boys required at least one overnight stay at the cabin," the court documents allege. "Poulson admitted that he was attracted to young men and spent many hours, days and nights with several you men under the age of 18. He then provide the names of six children that he took to his cabin alone."

The Diocese of Erie knew since at least May 2010 of the abuse, PennLive reports. Poulson served the Diocese of Erie in four different parish churches, St. Agnes in Morrisdale, St. Michael’s in Fryburg, St. Anthony of Padua in Cambridge Springs, and St. Bernadette, also in Cambridge Springs.

This has Attorney General Shapiro on the search for any additional victims.

"The Grand Jury heard from nine other individuals who had contact with Poulson at the time when they were minors," the court filings.

Of the hunting cabin, all "noted that Poulson was neither an outdoorsman nor a hunter."

Watch the Attorney General's press conference (video orientation shifts after a few seconds):