A Pennsylvania Roman Catholic priest was sentenced on Wednesday to more than 16 years in prison for sexually abusing boys living in shelters for at-risk children in Honduras, a federal prosecutor said.
Joseph Maurizio Jr., 70, worked in the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown, the central Pennsylvania diocese criticized for rampant child sex abuse in a grand jury report released on Tuesday.
While the report said hundreds of children were victimized by about 50 priests and that bishops covered up their actions, no criminal charges will be filed because the alleged incidents are too old to be prosecuted, authorities said.
After an eight-day trial, a federal jury convicted Maurizio in September of engaging in illicit sexual conduct in foreign places, possession of child pornography and international money laundering, U.S. Attorney David Hickton said in a news release.
Prosecutors said Maurizio created a charity that became the biggest donor to Pro Nino, a non-profit organization that provided shelter to poor and abandoned children living near San Pedro Sula, Honduras. During more than a dozen missionary trips to Honduras between 2004 and 2009, Maurizio sexually abused two boys living in the shelters, Hickton said.
At least once, he paid the boys to engage in sexual acts with him, the prosecutor said. He also kept digital images of child sexual exploitation, including images of his victims, Hickton said.
Maurizio was sentenced to 200 months in prison and ordered to pay a $50,000 fine and $10,000 in restitution to each victim.
His lawyer, Devin Misour of Pittsburgh, declined to comment.
(Reporting by Barbara Goldberg in New York; Editing by Peter Cooney)
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First Published On : Mar 3, 2016 04:46 IST