Former Greensburg priest to serve 11 1/2 to 5 years in prison for sexually abusing a 10-year-old boy

By Steve Pope | December 21, 2018

A Diocese of Greensburg priest was sentenced to 11 1/2 to five years in prison Friday and he is also required to register as a sex offender for the next 10 years, for sexually abusing a 10-year-old boy for over a year.

John Thomas Sweeney, 76, was indicted last year by a statewide grand jury for allegedly sexually assaulting a 10-year-old boy between September 1991 and June 1992.

The indictment alleged Sweeney forced the child to perform sex acts in a church conference room.  After some of the assaults took place a church secretary brought the boy milk and cookies.

The victim reported the abuse in 2016 after watching a movie about sexual abuse by Catholic priests in Boston.

After Sweeney was indicted the diocese revoked Sweeney’s priestly privileges and he has been prohibited  from acting as a priest in the future.

Westmoreland Common Pleas Judge Meagan Bilik-DeFazio ordered that Sweeney be taken into custody immediately after sentencing him, rejecting a request from his lawyer that he voluntarily report to prison next week.

Of the 301 predator priests named in the grand jury report, Sweeney was one of only two whom the Office of Attorney General was able to charge under -Pennsylvania’s current statute of limitations for sex abuse crimes.

Sweeney continued in ministry as a priest for approximately 16 years after abusing the victim.

Steve Pope can be contacted at

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