Priest convicted of sex tourism will not new get a new trial
Feb 09, 2016 06:58 AM EST
A federal judge has decided to reject the appeal of a Pennsylvania priest to get a new trial. The priest was convicted of sex tourism as he molested street children in Honduras during his missionary trips.
In a report by WPXI.com, the 70-year-old priest identified as Joseph Maurizio was convicted of the crimes he made back in September. He is set to be sentenced this March 2 in Johnstown.
ABC News reported that U.S. District Judge Kim Gibson rejected the appeal noting in a statement, "Given the substantial evidence that exists in this case ... the court finds it unlikely that a jury at a second trial would acquit defendant."
The appeal was sought after a hearing last week resulted to one of the accusers saying that he was not abused by the priest. However, a judge was able to clear the statement of the boy, which was, "Perhaps they think he really abused me, but that was not the case."
The boy reportedly told a federal investigator that other people think badly of him because of his encounter with Maurizio. It has been discovered that the boy's use of the word abuse referred to one act that was made by him as ordered by Maurizio, and not the other abuse the priest was accused of committing.
Defense attorney Steven Passarello expressed his disappointment of Gibson's rejection to the appeal for a new trial. He also pointed out that they could have used the statement given by the accuser for cross-examination, News 24 shared.
Passarello said he might ask the judge to delay the priest's sentencing. Accordingly, the judge who handled the case when the boy made the statement agreed with Passarello that the claims of the accuser favored the defense. It could have been used to impeach the accuser and was relevant to determining if Maurizio wag guilty or innocent.
However, the other evidence and testimony saying another boy witnessed the priest fondling the accuser who made the statement that he was not "abused," was strong enough to go through with the conviction and the sentencing. As per the accusers' statement, Maurizio promised them candies and cash to watch them shower, perform sex acts, or fondle them.
The priest has since maintained his innocence and has been searching for a public relations firm to tell his story.