As Poulson waives preliminary hearing, another alleged victim comes forward

Local News

A former priest in the Catholic Diocese of Erie is facing trial on child sexual abuse charges.

On May 8th, the Attorney General’s Office charged the pastor at St. Anthony of Padua Church in Cambridge Springs with child molestation, and now he faces all of those original charges in trial.

Father David Poulson was escorted into a Jefferson County District Court Office where he waived his right to a preliminary hearing in a child abuse case.  

Investigators say Poulson molested two boys between 2002 and 2010, but Jim Vansickle says he knows there are more victims out there because, he says, he was one of them.

“I met Father Poulson in August of 1979,” he tells us. “He came to Bradford Central Christian as an English teacher. I think he just was ordained a few months before that.” 

Attorneys on both sides tell us they’re not able to discuss the details of the case, but they do say they’re prepared to move forward to trial.

Daniel Dye, Senior Deputy Attorney General, says, “It’s possible this could be resolved but I think, as the Attorney General laid out in Erie when charges were brought, we have a strong case.” 

Defense Attorney Casey White says, “We think it’s better as a defense strategy to listen to testimony and present evidence on David Poulson’s behalf once we get to the Court of Common Pleas.” 

Poulson faces several charges including felony counts of indecent assault, endangering the welfare of children, and the corruption of minors. 

Vansickle tells us he hasn’t seen Poulson in more than 30 years, but he made the trip to Jefferson County to send an important message.  “As a victim that came out voluntarily, my goal is to let people know it’s okay. You can do this.” 

The Attorney General’s Office plans to go to trial in the fall.  No one from the Diocese of Erie came to the hearing today, but when Bishop Lawrence Persico announced the list of names, he described crimes like this one as Earth-shattering.

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