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GREENSBURG (KDKA) – A Westmoreland County priest, accused of sexually abusing a young boy, has been sentenced to prison.
When first accused of sexually assaulting a young boy, Father John Sweeney’s attorney said his client would be vindicated, but that’s not how it worked out for the 75-year-old retired Catholic priest.
Initially charged with felony involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, Sweeney pleaded guilty to misdemeanor indecent assault.
Sweeney admitting to forcing the victim, who was 10 years old at the time, to perform a sex act on him in a conference room at St. Mary Margaret Church in Lower Burrell in the early 1990s.
Before sentencing, Sweeney addressed the victim’s family and asked for leniency from the judge.
The victim is on military duty and had his brother read a letter to the court regarding Sweeney and what the disgraced priest did to him.
In the letter, the victim says he believes Sweeney “was happy that he got away with it” and describes the pain he suffers as a result of the assault as an “eternal emptiness.”
The victim goes on to say, “[Sweeney] had [his] freedom for 27 years. Don’t let him have anymore.”
When it was all over, Judge Meagan Bilik-DeFazio sentenced the disgraced clergyman to 11 1/2 months to five years in prison.
Sweeney’s attorney asked that his client have a week to prepare for prison and get his affairs in order. The judge denied the request, saying that Sweeney had more than enough time to do so.
With that, Sweeney was lead from the courtroom in handcuffs on his way, eventually, to a state prison.