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Former Colorado Springs priest arrested for sexual assault on teen

A former Colorado Springs priest, 77, has been charged by law enforcement officials with sexual assault on a child by one in a position of trust and two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

All of the charges against the former St. Gabriel Catholic Church priest are Class 4 felonies.

The teen accusing the priest of sexual assault is 15 years old.

Police began their investigation of the cleric after the teenager's sister called them and said she was suspicious of the priest, who she said was buying her brother expensive gifts.

She also claimed the priest had given her brother and a friend of his alcohol and marijuana.

According to a report from a Colorado Springs TV station, the priest also paid for the teen to have his nipples pierced.

The teen reportedly told officials that he'd originally gone to the priest because he was interested in Catholicism. The older man, in turn, reportedly began tutoring the teen on religious conversion.

The two met several times a week to discuss conversion, but the boy says, sexual abuse began to take place starting in June or July of last year.

He said the priest kissed him on the mouth one day and then allegedly contrived to get the boy alone and changing his clothes, before the cleric performed oral sex on him.

It's impossible for outsiders to know at this point about the veracity of the claims. What we do know is that a legal process has begun and that everyone who is accused of crimes has rights that must be protected during that process.

Source: Colorado Connection, "Priest gave victim expensive gifts, asked him to call him 'grandfather'," June 1, 2012

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