The Vatican has defrocked a Pennsylvania priest who's been accused of sexually abusing children.
David L. Poulson, who served in a church in Erie in northwestern Pennsylvania, was one of 300 priests from the state who were accused of sexual crimes since 1947, according to a 1,356-page grand jury report released in August. The grand jury charged just two of those priests, as the rest of the cases exceeded the statute of limitations.
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Laicization is a process that removes a priest from the priesthood. Pope Francis approved Poulson's "dispensation from all the obligations attached to holy orders (priesthood)," the Diocese says.
Authorities accused Poulson of sexually assaulting a boy repeatedly in rectories at two churches, and alleged he tried to assault another boy at a hunting cabin he owned with a friend.
Poulson, who served the Catholic Church for four decades, received a sentence of 2.5 to 14 years in a Pennsylvania prison.
"Mr. Poulson has now been removed from the clerical state, he is forbidden to function as a priest in the Catholic Church and should no longer present himself as a priest and not be admitted as a priest in the celebration of the sacraments," Bishop Lawrence T. Persico said in a statement