Retired Priest John Sweeney pleads guilty to sexual abuse

Local News

Retired Priest John Sweeney has pleaded guilty to a lesser charge in a sexual abuse case.  For the first time, the victim came forward and urged others to do the same. 

The victim requested to be identified by only his first name, Josh. He says that the abuse happened 30 years ago, when he was just 10 years old and he hopes this guilty plea will urge other victims to come forward. 

John Sweeney pleaded guilty to one count of indecent assault. It was a year ago that Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced the charges against the priest that happened inside the Saint Margaret Mary Parish during the 1991-1992 school year. 

Sweeney forced the victim to perform oral sex on him, and says afterward, the secretary gave him milk and cookies. But today, that victim says he is not a victim anymore.  “Please, have the courage to come forward. You got nothing to lose. You’ll be a victim until the day you come forward. The day you come out you’ll be a victor. You’re victorious today.”

Sweeney’s plea comes as the Attorney General Josh Shapiro’s Office has been pushing for a report to be released concerning widespread sexual abuse within the state’s Catholic dioceses.  The report, involving 300 priests in Pennsylvania, should be released next month.

–Brittany Hoke, JET 24 Action News

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