Former Area Priest Removed by Diocese Amid Sexual Abuse Allegations

| February 14, 2018

ERIE, Pa. (EYT) – A former Clarion County priest has been removed by the Catholic Diocese of Erie following allegations involving the sexual abuse of minors.

Erie Catholic Bishop Lawrence Persico announced Tuesday that he accepted the resignation of Rev. David Poulson, 64, pastor of St. Anthony of Padua Parish in Cambridge Springs, Crawford County, after the diocese received “credible allegations against Father Poulson regarding the sexual abuse of minors.″

Poulson served as a priest at St. Michael’s Church in Fryburg, Clarion County, for several years between the late 1990s and 2013.

Diocesan officials said the investigation has been turned over to the Crawford County District Attorney’s Office and the Cambridge Springs Borough Police Department.

No charges have been filed against Poulson as of Tuesday evening.

The diocese also announced Tuesday that Rev. Sean Kerins, 27, has been removed as the chaplain of Kennedy Catholic High School in Hermitage, Mercer County, and from the Church of the Good Shepherd Parish in West Middlesex, Mercer County. Kerins allegedly sent several inappropriate text messages to a student at Kennedy Catholic. The investigation is ongoing.

“My heart aches for the victims and their families,″ Persico said in the release.

“Priests are rightly held to a high standard, so it was especially devastating for me to learn of both situations. I know all Catholics, including our priests, are deeply wounded by this behavior.″

Diocese officials encourage anyone who may have knowledge of either situation or who has been affected by similar improprieties, to report the abused to independent investigators of the diocese by email, call ChildLine, an outreach of the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services at 800-932-0313.

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