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Ex-Nesquehoning priest charged with sexual assault

Published January 03. 2013 05:03PM

A former Nesquehoning Catholic priest, who was defrocked by the Allentown Diocese in 2007, has been charged in Maryland with sexually assaulting a boy in 1981.

According to reports, former priest Bruno M. Tucci, 70, who served as pastor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and Immaculate Conception churches from 1987 to 2002, and now resides in Salisbury, Md., was arrested and charged by Ocean City police on Dec. 11, with one count fourth-degree sex offense and one count child abuse by a custodian in the second degree.

Ocean City police's investigation into Tucci's actions against the boy began in late November.

The investigation revealed that in August 1981, Tucci took the boy, who has not been identified, to a motel or private residence in Ocean City, where he sexually assaulted him. No other details are being released due to the nature of the crime.

Authorities in Ocean City are asking any other victims in Maryland to come forward.

A preliminary hearing has been set for Jan. 16 in Worcester County District Court.

Tucci was among a number of priests in the Allentown Diocese investigated by prosecutors in 2002 after allegations of sexual assault on children surfaced.

At the time, district attorneys said none of the priests in question could be prosecuted because the statute of limitations had run out. However, in Maryland, there is no statute of limitations on sexual assault cases.

As a result of sexual assault allegations, the diocese removed Tucci from active ministry.

Tucci had ties to this area from 1971 until his formal dismissal from ministry in 2002.

During that time, he served at a number of parishes and schools, including St. Joseph's Church in Frackville; Cardinal Brennan High School; Marian Catholic High School; Holy Name High School; Central Catholic High School; and St. Peter's Church in Reading.

Since the 2002 investigation, the statute of limitations in Pennsylvania has been extended and now ends on the victim's 50th birthday, up from the former limit of age 30. But the new law applies only to victims who have turned 18 in August 2002.

Police ask that anyone with information about Tucci contact Detective Brett L. Case at (410) 723-6632.

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