Trial for OC priest accused of abuse set for February

From staff reports

A Catholic priest from Oil City accused of sexually abusing at least two boys during his four decades in the Erie Diocese is now scheduled to go to trial in February.

Online court documents say 65-year-old David Poulson’s trial will begin Feb. 11, following jury selection at the Jefferson County Courthouse. Jury selection and the trial had previously been scheduled for next month.

Poulson was arrested in May after being relieved of his clerical duties amid abuse allegations.

A statewide grand jury investigation led by Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro charged Poulson in incidents dating from 2002 to 2010 at rectories and locations in Clarion, Crawford and Jefferson counties.

Poulson grew up in Oil City and was a member of Our Lady Help of Christians Parish and a 1971 Oil City High School graduate. He had several assignments in the diocese, including as pastor at St. Michael Parish in Fryburg from 2000-2010.

He was pastor at St. Anthony of Padua Parish in Cambridge Springs when he was removed from his position in February by Erie Diocese Bishop Lawrence T. Persico.

Poulson’s charges stem from alleged assaults that occurred at a remote hunting cabin he owned with a friend in Jefferson County. Other abuse incidents occurred at rectories in Fryburg and Cambridge Springs when Poulson was serving there, according to the grand jury presentment.

All the charges against Poulson have been consolidated in Jefferson County for court proceedings.

He is charged with felony counts of indecent assault-person less than 13 years of age, endangering welfare of children and corruption of minors-defendant age 18 or above.

He is also charged with misdemeanor counts of indecent assault-person less than 13 years of age, indecent assault-person less than 16 years of age, indecent assault without consent of another, endangering welfare of children and corruption of minors.

Poulson was released from Jefferson County jail in May after posting 10 percent of $300,000 bail.