Former Erie Catholic priest pleads guilty to sexually abusing altar boy.

By Amanda Klein  | October 17, 2018

A former Catholic priest from Erie pleaded guilty Wednesday to several felony offenses in connection with alleged sexual assaults against one boy and the attempted assault of another boy.

The victims were eight and 15 years old at the time the alleged assaults took place.

In May, a Statewide Investigating Grand Jury alleged David Poulson sexually assaulted one boy repeatedly in church rectories on Sundays, after the boy served as an altar boy at Mass. These assaults took place more than 20 times.

Poulson also assaulted the boy and attempted to assault a second one at a remote hunting cabin that he owned with a friend in Jefferson County.  In an effort to assault them, Poulson would bring the youths to the cabin and watch horror movies with them on his laptop.

Since at least May 2010, the Diocese of Erie knew of Poulson’s sexual predator tendencies – but did nothing to report him to authorities until September 2016, in response to a subpoena from the grand jury, the indictment said.

In a May 24, 2010 secret memorandum – hidden in church archives for six years, Poulson admitted to being “aroused” by a boy and sharing suggestive texts with numerous other boys.

“Poulson assaulted one of his victims in church rectories,” said Attorney General Shapiro, in a news conference following Poulson’s plea at the Jefferson County courthouse in Brookville. “He made that victim go to confession and confess the abuse – to Poulson. He used the tools of the priesthood to further his abuse. Today, Poulson is being held accountable and facing justice for his crimes.”

A date for Poulson’s sentencing has not yet been scheduled.

Amanda Klein be contacted at




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