Ex-priest pleads guilty in case spurred by ‘Spotlight’ movie

July 31, 2018 GMT

GREENSBURG, Pa. (AP) — A retired Roman Catholic priest in Pennsylvania has pleaded guilty to reduced charges of indecent assault in a case where the victim came forward after watching the movie “Spotlight” to say he’d been molested 25 years ago.

The Rev. John Thomas Sweeney had been charged with involuntary deviate sexual intercourse. The 74-year-old has denied accusations that he forced the 10-year-old boy to perform oral sex on him while counseling the fourth-grader about misbehaving at an elementary school in Lower Burrell.

Sweeney’s lawyer argued the statute of limitations had expired.

He faces up to five years in prison.

The accuser, now in his 30s and serving in the Coast Guard, told authorities he was moved to disclose the allegation after watching “Spotlight,” the Academy Award-winning film about an investigation of priest abuse.