ERIE, Pa. — Two priests of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Erie have been removed from all public ministry after allegations of misconduct or abuse against minors.
According to the Diocese of Erie, Fr. David Poulson, 64, was removed from his assignment at Saint Anthony of Padua Parish in Cambridge Springs after what church leaders call “credible allegations” of sexual abuse of minors.
The alleged incident reportedly occurred in the church, according to the Cambridge Springs Police Department.
He has permanently resigned.
In a separate and unrelated situation, Fr. Sean Kerins was removed from the Church of the Good Shepherd Parish in West Middlesex in Hermitage.
It was at the high school that the chaplain allegedly sent a series of inappropriate text messages to a student.
That alleged incident came to light last month. The diocese conducted preliminary investigations and for both situations, and law enforcement continue their own.
Bishop Lawrence Persico said, “My heart aches for the victims and their families. 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.”
There is no “look” for a perpetrator, according to Robyn Young, director of domestic violence services at SafeNet. The organization provides counseling, shelter, legal support and other services to victims of domestic abuse.
Young said it is important to teach kids about good touch versus bad touch and to keep open communication with them.
“I would say that the main thing that you see is the withdrawal, the bad school grades, sometimes they’re not close to friends any more.”
“Sometimes, it happens behind closed doors, and it’s not always visible,” she said. “So, when somebody does disclose, believe them.”
If you have information about these allegations or similar incidents, police ask that you contact them.
What are other ways to report abuse?
Call Hotline at 800-932-0313
Call Hotline at 814-4548161
Crime Victim Center of Erie County
Call Hotline at 814-455-9414
Independent investigators retained by the Diocese of Erie, email ErieRCD@KLGates.com