Priest from Hempfield charged with abuse

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The Tribune Review (triblive.com) (Pennsylvania)

Published: Thursday, April 19, 2012, 2:57 p.m.
Updated: Tuesday, April 24, 2012

By Paul Peirce
Tribune-Review

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.

2 Responses to Priest from Hempfield charged with abuse

  1. Sylvia says:

    I posted an article on these allegations about two weeks ago. I am adding this one because it makes reference to the fact that Father Specht was a late vocation to the priesthood (he would have been around 53 when he was ordained.

    According to a comment posted by A Henneberry, Specht was previously married, and “was known for his opposition to the homosexual lifestyle.” Henneberry adds: “Only a cretin would believe he sexually molested a male.”

    We shall see. …

  2. deeplybetrayed says:

    How difficult it is to know a person. How much energy is used to hide who we really are when we don’t come to the Lord and pour out our hearts and remind Him of our weaknesses and vulnerabilities. People are great actors. The heart is wicked, who can know it.
    The internet is so filled with porn, if anyone watches it once, they are hooked, one seduction is very powerful. It’s like cocaine, one hit is all it takes, but psychologists agree that it is much stronger an addiction than cocaine. It destroys self-respect, respect for others and detaches us emotionally from people. People can look at porn on their iphones, blackberrys, etc. while they are chatting. Puppetlike detachment.

    I’m not saying Fr. Specht is or isn’t guilty but he could have been a very different person 10 years ago, or he thought he could hide inside the institution. Social media is saturated with porn, and it can destroy morals depending on which channel we are tuned to. It degrades who we are in Christ. I hope it was love for God and God’s people that drew him to the priesthood.
    I mistakenly always thought that a priest had to be celibate and chaste and even “a virgin”. Oops. Naive?

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