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Ex-Key Largo Priest Found Guilty Of Sex Abuse 30 Years Ago

Dec 19, 2002 | AP

A Roman Catholic priest who recently worked in Key Largo was found guilty Wednesday of sexual misconduct with an 11-year-old boy more than 30 years ago.

The Wayne County Circuit Court jury of seven women and five men deliberated for roughly three hours in the trial of the Rev. Edward Olszewski, who was charged with four counts of indecent liberties with a minor child and four counts of sodomy.

The jury found Olszewski guilty of the indecent liberties charges and innocent of the sodomy charges. He faces up to 10 years in prison on each of the guilty convictions when he is sentenced Jan. 30.

The priest, who remains on administrative leave from the Archdiocese of Miami, showed little reaction when the verdict was read.

Assistant Prosecutor Lisa Lindsey, who tried the case, praised the jury for its impartiality. "They were not swayed by the prestige and authority of the Catholic Church," she said.

Mary Ross Agosta, spokeswoman for the Miami archdiocese, said, "The judicial system of our nation has spoken."

"It is a difficult time for all involved and affected by the crisis in the Catholic Church," she said. "Today is a particularly hard day, and our prayers are with Mr. Green and Father Olszewski."

Olszewski was the first priest in more than a decade to face a jury trial in the Detroit area for sexually abusing a minor.

Olszewski's accuser, Albert Green, said the misconduct took place in the early 1970s at St. Cecilia's rectory here, when Green, now 44, and his two brothers moved into the rectory.

Social workers had placed the boys in the care of Olszewski because their mother was ill.

Olszewski moved from Michigan in the late 1970s to work as a priest in Florida. He was forced to step down from his Key Largo parish in the spring.

Olszewski maintained his innocence and said Green had been stalking him and asking him for help whenever he got into trouble with the law and drugs.

Defense attorney S. Allen Early said he will ask the judge to set aside the verdict because he said there is another witness who will testify that Green was lying. Early said if the judge doesn't set aside the verdict, he will appeal, radio station WWJ reported.

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