HARRISBURG — A Roman Catholic priest was charged on Tuesday with groping a 17-year-old girl and sending her nude images of himself, just a week after a grand jury reported the church had covered up decades of child molestation by priests across the state.
The charges of felony corruption of minors and misdemeanor indecent assault against 30-year-old Kevin Lonergan were not a result of the landmark grand jury investigation but stemmed from a complaint filed in June, after the grand jury had finished its work, authorities said.
Lonergan is an Allentown Diocese priest from Pottsville.
This is at least the second case of possible priest abuse being investigated in the Allentown Diocese since the grand jury finished its report, which identified 301 “predator priests” in a half-dozen Pennsylvania dioceses, including 37 in Allentown, going back to the 1940s.
Authorities have charged just two priests as a result of the grand jury investigation, including a priest who has since pleaded guilty.
But because of time limits in state law on the prosecution of old cases, Attorney General Josh Shapiro said those two were the only priests named in the report that his office could charge. Some of those named were prosecuted years ago, and more than 100 are dead.
Court papers did not list a lawyer for Lonergan. Lehigh County District Attorney Jim Martin said Allentown Diocese officials immediately reported the matter to law enforcement and Lonergan has been removed from active ministry.
Lonergan met the girl at Mass last year, authorities said.