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U.S. priest gets 17 years for molesting Honduran children

Associated Press

JOHNSTOWN, Pa. – A suspended Pennsylvania priest has been sentenced to nearly 17 years in prison for sexually assaulting poor street children during missionary trips to Honduras.

Federal prosecutors in Johnstown sought the long prison term for 70-year-old Joseph Maurizio Jr.

His attorneys argued for less time due to his age, charitable works and other factors. They have also said the priest denies wrongdoing.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown suspended Maurizio after federal prosecutors filed charges in September 2014.

Prosecutors contend Maurizio used a self-run Johnstown-based charity to travel to an orphanage for several years ending in 2009. He was convicted of promising candy and cash to two boys to watch them shower, perform sex acts or fondle them.

The defense has said it may continue an appeal for a new trial.

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