A Catholic priest in Harlem, NY was charged in Charleston on Thursday for allegedly sexually abusing minors while he was a volunteer in the Holy City more than 30 years ago.
Freddy Washington, a 53-year-old resident of West 138th Street in Harlem, faces two counts of criminal sexual conduct with a minor under 11 years old, and one count of committing a lewd act on a child under 14 years old, according to court and jail records.
Washington appeared in bond court on Thursday where he was given $100,000 bail on the lewd act charge, according to jail records. No bail was given on the criminal sexual conduct charges.
He is a member of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit, also known as the Spiritans, according to a statement by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Charleston. The abuse dates back about 35 years — the early 1980s — when Washington was a volunteer at St. Patrick Catholic Church on St. Philip Street.
Washington was ordained as a priest on Aug. 1, 1992, according to the statement.
Diocesan officials learned about the abuse and contacted police, the statement said.
According to a Charleston police incident report from Sept. 15, 2016, Washington was 18 years old at the time of the alleged abuse. The victims were identified as three juvenile males.
Washington was most recently assigned to St. Mark the Evangelist Church in Harlem under the Archdiocese of New York, a local diocese spokeswoman said.
An archived post on the Diocese of Rockville Centre website also listed him as the former pastor of St. Mary Magdalene and St. Ambrose parishes in Chicago.
As of Thursday night, Washington was listed as an associate professor of pastoral theology at Xavier University in New Orleans.
Officials encourage all victims and anyone who believes they know about any kind of sexual misconduct to contact authorities, the statement by the Charleston diocese said.
Anyone who wishes to get help from the diocese can contact Louisa Storen, victim assistance coordinator, at 800-921-8122.
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