A Roman Catholic priest who recently worked in Key Largo, Fla., 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 conviction when he is sentenced Jan. 30.
The priest, who is on administrative leave from the Archdiocese of Miami, showed little reaction when the verdict was read.
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.
Prosecutors say they were able to charge Olszewski because he moved out of Michigan before the statute of limitations expired, stopping the clock from ticking as the years passed. At the time of the alleged crime, Michigan law required charges to be brought within six years of an offense.
Defense attorney S. Allen Early said the only allegations against Olszewski have come from Green. Green, who now lives in Washington state, said during the trial that the alleged molestation happened “at nighttime when my brothers (went) to bed,” Green testified.
A woman who was a housekeeper at St. Cecilia’s testified that she didn’t witness any abuse take place.
At least 30 Catholic priests in Michigan have been removed, suspended or have left their duties since Jan. 1 amid sexual abuse or misconduct allegations. Some of the cases are under review. At least 17 of the cases involved a minor.