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Inactive City Priest Charged With Sexual Abuse

Jul 19, 2002 | The Baltimore Sun

An inactive Baltimore priest has been charged with molesting a teen-age boy at the Catonsville parish he served in the 1970s, police said.

The Rev. David G. Smith was charged with perverted practice, a felony which carries a 10-year maximum sentence, after a man came forward this month and accused the priest of sexually molesting him several times when he was a teen-ager. The abuse allegedly took place in the rectory of St. Mark's parish between 1973 and 1976.

Smith, who has been on a leave of absence from active ministry for the past two years, has denied the charge, according to a statement released by the Archdiocese Of Baltimore. Smith's attorney, James Gitomer, declined to comment.

The man, now 45, first approached the Archdiocese Of Baltimore with his allegations in March. Church officials forwarded the allegations to the Baltimore County state's attorney's office a day after meeting with the alleged victim, the Baltimore archdiocese said in a statement.

Calls to the state's attorney's office yesterday were not returned, so it could not be determined what action that office took on the man's complaint.

Last week, the alleged victim walked into a Baltimore County police precinct and repeated his complaint. According to a detective who interviewed him, the man was motivated to come forward because of all of the media reports of clergy sexual abuse.

"All I want is an apology and to make sure he is not doing this with other minors," the man told the detective, according to the charging document.

The man told police he started going to Smith for counseling as a 16-year-old. During the counseling sessions, Smith allegedly gave the youth beer from a little refrigerator in his room at the St. Mark's rectory and, when he was intoxicated, engaged in oral sex with him.

"I did not stop his advances because he was the first male who gave me attention," the accuser told police, according to the charging document. "I didn't realize it was wrong until years later."

The accuser said the abuse occurred dozens of times over three years, until he was 19 and engaged to be married.

A criminal summons was issued for Smith, who was charged Monday. He is scheduled for trial on Aug 22.

Smith was ordained in 1973 and served at St. Mark's from 1973 until 1980. He was assigned to Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Essex from 1980 to 1992, and Our Lady of Good Counsel in Locust Point from 1992 until 2000, when he took a leave of absence from the priesthood. He is an owner of the Calvert House Restaurant on Calvert Street in downtown Baltimore.

Smith's decision to leave active ministry was voluntary and was unrelated to any kind of sexual misconduct, church officials said.


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