The Tribune Review (triblive.com) (Pennsylvania)
Published: Thursday, April 19, 2012, 2:57 p.m.
Updated: Tuesday, April 24, 2012
By Paul Peirce
A Catholic priest from Virginia with Westmoreland County ties has been placed on leave after being accused of sexual misconduct in the 1990s involving an underage boy.
The Rev. Terry W. Specht, 59, who was raised in Hempfield and graduated from St. Vincent College near Latrobe, denies the allegation.
The allegations are being investigated by the Diocese of Arlington, Va., and Fairfax County Police.
Specht has been a pastor at Holy Spirit Church in Annandale since 2007. He also served as chaplain and assistant principal at Paul VI Catholic High School from 2000 to 2004.
He was director of the diocesan child-protection office from 2004 through 2011. That office was responsible for conducting background checks on diocesan employees who could come into contact with children and provide training to diocesan workers, according to the Associated Press.
The diocese reported the alleged victim contacted the diocese in late January and would have been a teenager at the time of the alleged misconduct.
According to a church biography, Specht was a convert to the Catholic faith and entered the church in 1984 after graduating from St. Vincent. He joined the Navy and for 21 years worked as a sailor on submarines. He was ordained May 18, 1996.