Priest Accused of Sex Abuse Pleads to Reduced Charge

August 1, 2006

Rochester, N.Y. A priest takes a plea bargain in a sex-abuse case.

The Reverend Dennis Sewar was originally charged with a misdemeanor of third-degree sexual abuse. He pleaded guilty yesterday in Rochester City Court to attempted endangering the welfare of a child, also a misdemeanor.

City Court Judge John Elliott sentenced the 55-year-old Roman Catholic priest to one year of probation but warned him that he could face 90 days in jail if he violates conditions of his probation.

Sewar was charged last year with touching a boy's clothed genitals in 1999 in the rectory of a Rochester church. By pleading guilty to a non-sexual charge, Sewar avoided having to register as a sex offender for 20 years.

Assistant District Attorney Joseph Waldorf said the plea was entered with the permission of the victim after long discussions.

Sewar's trial had been scheduled to begin Wednesday.

The priest remains on sabbatical.


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