A Catholic priest in Pennsylvania has been charged with molesting a teenage boy after police said he was found in a car on a college campus with a 15-year-old who was wearing no pants, according to a police criminal complaint filed Friday in Lackawanna County. The Rev. W. Jeffrey Paulish was charged with one felony count of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse and one felony count of unlawful contact with a minor after Dunmore police say they found him and the boy on Thursday in a car on the Worthington Scranton campus of Penn State University, according to the complaint. Paulish, 56, of Scranton, was also charged with three misdemeanor counts -- indecent contact with a person under 16, indecent exposure and corruption of a minor. He is being held at the Lackawanna County jail on $50,000 bail. Dunmore police officers say they discovered Paulish and the boy after responding to a call of a suspicious vehicle, according to an arrest warrant affidavit filed with the court. Allegedly Paulish told police he was at the campus working on his homily when he met the teen, who he said was in emotional distress, and began counseling him. According to the affidavit, he later admitted to police that he had arranged the meeting with the teen through the "casual encounters" section of Craigslist. Paulish told investigators that he had asked the boy three times if he was over the age of 18, the affidavit said.To the credit of the diocese, its reaction was swift, and promising:
Paulish has been removed from his post at the Prince of Peace parish and has been suspended from acting in the capacity of a priest, according to a statement released by the Diocese of Scranton. The diocese pledged its cooperation with the investigation, and it called on anyone who "may have been sexually abused by Father Paulish or any member of the clergy" to notify the district attorney's office. "I wish to acknowledge how unsettling this is to me personally and to countless others, that yet again a priest has been involved in such inappropriate, immoral and illegal behavior," the Bishop of Scranton, the Rev. Joseph Bambera, said in the statement.I can't help but think how confusing this response must be for Catholic League bloviator Bill Donohue, who normally would find a way to claim that this is all a liberal conspiracy. The real question is which of the two contradictory positions he took in the matter of Father Fugee will he adopt here? It could be the position that "any priest who is guilty of committing a crime, especially sexual abuse, should have the book thrown at him; he will get no defense from the Catholic League," or that he espoused two days before that principled statement, "If accused Muslim terrorists, who seek to kill as many innocent Americans as they can, are given (free of charge) attorneys prepared to exploit every legal loophole there is, then I want priests to be afforded the same measures."