Priest pleads not guilty to sexual tourism charges

AP News
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Posted: Oct 14, 2014 3:46 PM

JOHNSTOWN, Pa. (AP) — A Pennsylvania priest has pleaded not guilty to charges he possessed child pornography and traveled to Honduras for sex with poor street children during missionary trips.

The Rev. Joseph Maurizio entered the plea Tuesday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Keith Pesto in Johnstown.

The 69-year-old remains jailed, though Pesto gave lawyers 10 days to return with information about the priest's finances, at which point Pesto says he may reconsider releasing the priest pending trial.

Defense attorney Steven Passarello tells the judge the priest will agree to freeze two investment accounts worth $900,000 and surrender his passport to address concerns he may flee prosecution. Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephanie Haines says investigators found another account from which Maurizio withdrew $127,000.

Passarello says that money will pay for the priest's defense.