11.01.2005

'Fellate Me Father for I Have Sinned...'

Priest Suspended After Alleged Lewd Act in Adult Store

from New England News

WORCESTER - A Roman Catholic priest arrested in Las Vegas last year for allegedly performing a lewd act on another man inside an adult bookstore was removed from his post as pastor of a Worcester parish.

Bishop Robert McManus told parishioners on Sunday that the Rev. James Aquino was being relieved of his duties at Our Lady of Loreto parish, where he'd been pastor since 1986.

McManus, who called the situation "a grave scandal," had known of Aquino's October 2004 arrest for several months. But the bishop had allowed him to remain in his post because Aquino denied the charges and McManus believed he might have been arrested due to a misunderstanding.

Just last week, Aquino, 66, took to the pulpit to publicly deny the charges, telling parishioners he had just entered the Adult Super Store, which sells sexually explicit books, magazines and videos, when police swooped in.

"I want you to know that I never, never engaged in any sexual activity of any kind," he said.

According to the arrest report, police said for about 30 minutes they witnessed Aquino in a theater at the store masturbating himself and another man in public view. Aquino also gave police an incorrect Social Security number, the report said.

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