Somerset priest gets nearly 17 years in sex-tourism case
March 2, 2016 2:20 PM
Rev. Joseph Maurizio of Somerset
By Torsten Ove / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Just a day after a state grand jury accused some 50 priests in the Altoona-Johnstown Diocese of being pedophiles, another member of that diocese was sentenced to more than 16 years in federal prison for molesting orphans in Honduras.
U.S. District Judge Kim Gibson today imposed a term of 16½ years and eight months on Rev. Joseph Maurizio, 70.
The former pastor at Our Lady Queen of Angels in Central City was convicted in September of sex tourism in traveling to Honduras between 1999 and 2009 to molest boys under the guise of doing work through his charity, Humanitarian Interfaith Ministries.
Maurizio was found guilty of engaging in illicit sex in foreign places, possession of child pornography and international money-laundering.
The jury acquitted him on another sex count involving one of the victims and two other counts of transferring money to Honduras for illicit purposes.
The U.S. Justice Department said Maurizio was known as the "money man" who used cash from his charity to fund trips to the ProNino orphanage, where he paid boys with money and candy for sex acts.
Maurizio was also named in a state grand jury presentment released this week detailing a two-year historical investigation into sex abuse by priests in the Altoona-Johnstown Diocese dating back some 50 years. While many other priests named in the presentment had long histories of sex-abuse allegations, the entry on Maurizio focuses only on the more-recent federal case against him, which began with an FBI probe in 2009 and culminated in a raid on his church and farm by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in 2014.
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