Priest's case slated to go to trial - Catholic Courier

Priest’s case slated to go to trial

ROCHESTER — A Rochester City Court judge slated jury selection in the trial of Father Dennis R. Sewar to begin April 3.

The diocesan priest has pleaded not guilty to a charge of third-degree sexual abuse, a Class B misdemeanor, according to his attorney, John F. Speranza. If convicted, Father Sewar could face up to 90 days in jail, or possibly a conditional discharge, probation and/or a fine, Speranza added.

According to court documents, the priest was charged in connection with alleged incidents of abuse that took place between the end of October 1999 and August 2001, during which time Father Sewar was pastor of Rochester’s Church of the Annunciation. Court documents state that the alleged victim was a teenage boy who claimed the priest repeatedly touched him in an inappropriate manner and that the alleged abuse stopped when the boy turned 16. However, in response to defense motions as the case progressed, the prosecution narrowed the allegation of abuse to one incident in October 1999, Speranza said.

During a Feb. 1 court proceeding, City Court Judge John E. Elliott also dismissed a charge of forcible touching. Previously, the judge had dismissed a charge of endangering the welfare of a child.

Father Sewar has been on administrative leave since June 2005.

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