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Catholic priest confesses he groped ex-altar boy



Published: Sat, June 11, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



Registering as a sex offender will be one of the terms of the Rev. Albert Liberatore's probation.

SCRANTON, Pa. (AP) -- A suspended Roman Catholic clergyman has pleaded guilty to a felony count of attempted sexual abuse in New York, admitting to groping a former altar boy in a Greenwich Village hotel room during an overnight trip, the Manhattan district attorney's office said.

The Rev. Albert M. Liberatore Jr. of Scranton had already pleaded guilty in Luzerne County to sexually assaulting the same teenage boy over a three-year period.

The Rev. Mr. Liberatore, 41, was charged last year after the victim, now 20, told police that he became involved with the priest when he was an eighth-grade altar boy at the Sacred Heart of Jesus Church in Duryea.

Investigators said the man described meeting Mr. Liberatore regularly for dinners, sleeping twice a week in his residence at the rectory and going with him on trips to New York, where he said Mr. Liberatore took him to gay bars and they had sexual contact at hotels.

Terms of his probation

Under a plea agreement with New York prosecutors executed May 26, Mr. Liberatore will get 10 years probation, be forbidden from school grounds and other places frequented by minors and have to register as a sex offender. He is scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 10.

Mr. Liberatore pleaded guilty in Luzerne County Court last month to indecent assault, corruption of minors, furnishing alcohol to a minor and child endangerment. He was sentenced to five years probation.

The victim and his family have filed a federal lawsuit against Mr. Liberatore, former Scranton Bishop James C. Timlin and other diocesan entities.

The diocese has said it removed Mr. Liberatore from his priestly duties and from his job at the University of Scranton, where he was an instructor.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.




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