November 25, 2005

Judge may drop abuse charges against priest


Gannett News Service
November 25, 2005

ROCHESTER - A judge reserved decision Wednesday on a request to dismiss charges that a Roman Catholic priest molested a 14-year-old boy at a Rochester church.

Rochester City Court Judge John E. Elliott said he'll decide Dec. 21 whether misdemeanor charges of third-degree sexual abuse and forcible touching should stand against the Rev. Dennis R. Sewar, 54.

Sewar, who is on sabbatical from St. John the Evangelist Church in Spencerport, is charged with molesting the boy from 1999 to 2001 when Sewar was pastor of Church of the Annunciation in Rochester.

The accuser, now 20, claimed Sewar touched his clothed genitals about 50 times while he and Sewar watched baseball on a big-screen television in Sewar's private quarters in the church rectory.

Sewar's lawyer, John F. Speranza, asked Elliott to dismiss the charges on the ground that a document filed by police to bring Sewar to court was legally defective. The document is supposed to be called an accusatory instrument but was titled warrant application.

Posted by kshaw at November 25, 2005 06:46 AM