Retired priest accused of forcing boy to perform oral sex

The Rev. John Thomas Sweeney, center, walks into court to be arraigned Monday, July 24, 2017, in Leechburg, Pa. Sweeney, a now-retired Roman Catholic priest is accused of forcing a 10-year-old Pennsylvania boy to perform oral sex on him after counseling the 4th-grader about misbehaving on a school bus. Sweeney made no comment to reporters when he turned himself in. (Antonella Crescimbeni/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette via AP)

LOWER BURRELL, Pa. (AP) — A now-retired Roman Catholic priest has been accused of forcing a 10-year-old Pennsylvania boy to perform oral sex on him after counseling the fourth-grader about misbehaving on a school bus.

The state attorney general’s office said Monday the Rev. John Thomas Sweeney committed felony involuntary deviate sexual intercourse against the boy at St. Margaret Mary Elementary School in Lower Burrell.

Prosecutors say the assault occurred during the 1991-92 school year and the boy was given milk and cookies afterward.

The Greensburg Diocese says the 74-year-old Sweeney was removed as pastor of Holy Family Parish in West Newton last year after church officials learned of the allegation.

Defense lawyer Francis Murrman says Sweeney “vehemently” denies the charge, noting the allegation is about something from 26 years ago.

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