Front page story from the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin:
Johnson had been accused of misconduct while at St. Paul's Episcopal Church
BY TOM WILBER • FEBRUARY 5, 2010, 10:10 PM
A former rector of St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Owego has been arrested by Pennsylvania State Police after he was accused of having oral sex with a boy.
Ralph E. Johnson, 82, was arraigned in Clifford, Pa., on 15 counts of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, a felony; 15 counts of indecent assault, a misdemeanor; and 15 counts of corruption of minors, a misdemeanor, according to a police report.
The incidents, representing about 15 encounters between the suspect and the alleged victim, happened at Johnson's home in Gibson Township, Susquehanna County, between 1992 and 1995, according to a police report released Friday.
Johnson is accused of having oral sex with the victim, who was between 11 and 15 years old, said Trooper Mark Molvey.
Johnson was arraigned before District Judge Suzanne Brainard in Clifford and sent to Susquehanna County Jail on $50,000 bail.
In May 2006, Johnson, then 79, voluntarily renounced his ministerial orders at St. Paul's after accusations surfaced of sexual misconduct. Johnson, who was rector of the church in the 1970s, left without admitting guilt after the alleged victim filed an affidavit with the diocese, according to reports published in this paper in 2007.
On Friday night, Bill O'Çonnell, a junior warden with St. Paul's, referred questions about Johnson's arrest to the Episcopal Diocese of Central New York in Syracuse.
"It's past history for us," O'Connell said. "We're trying to move on."
Diocesan officials in Syracuse could not be reached Friday night.
The Rev. David G. Bollinger, rector of the church from 1985 to 2005, said he alerted diocesan officials in Syracuse after receiving complaints of Johnson's alleged misconduct, but Bishop Gladstone B. Adams rebuffed him.
"He basically told me this would no longer be discussed," Bollinger said Friday.
Bollinger, who retired in 2006 after a year-long sabbatical, said he was punished by the church for being a whistleblower.