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Retired Cleveland Priest Pleads Guilty To Sex Charge

May 16, 2003 | AP

A retired priest accused of soliciting sex from a 17-year-old male runaway pleaded guilty Thursday to promoting prostitution.

The charges against the Rev. Daniel McBride, 76, represent the only criminal case involving a priest to come out of an investigation of sex abuse allegations in the Cleveland Diocese of the Roman Catholic Church.

The plea came as McBride's trial was to begin.

He could get up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine at sentencing June 26. He had no comment after leaving the courtroom.

"He has pleaded guilty to a felony, but not as a Catholic priest," said defense attorney Niki Schwartz. "He was a one-time customer of an almost-18-year-old prostitute."

McBride was indicted after a seven-month investigation of allegations involving the diocese. As part of a plea bargain, several other sex-related counts were dropped.

McBride retired from the priesthood in 1987 but served as senior associate pastor at a church in Northfield Township, about 30 miles from Cleveland.

He was accused of soliciting sex with a minor in April 2002. Prosecutors said McBride went to a bar in Cleveland to meet the boy and arranged to pay him to travel to a condominium McBride kept in Chautauqua, N.Y., for sex.

Prosecutors shut the bar down in June, saying it housed a prostitution ring of boys.

The Cleveland Diocese has 235 parishes with more than 800,000 Catholics and about 340 priests in eight counties.

In a statement, the diocese said McBride's case "was a personal matter and was never connected with the exercise of his priestly ministry at any of his assignments."

At least 325 of the nation's 46,000 priests have resigned or been removed from their posts because of a sex scandal that first erupted in Boston more than a year ago.

In other developments Thursday related to the nationwide clergy abuse scandal:

A former priest was found innocent in Largo, Fla., of sexually abusing a boy nearly 20 years ago. Robert Schaeufele still faces rape charges involving three men who allege they were sodomized as children.

The Diocese of Providence, R.I., confirmed it hopes to sell oceanfront property used as a bishop's summer residence to help finance a more than $14 million settlement with alleged abuse victims. The property has been appraised at $4 million.


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