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Tuesday, December 13, 2005                                                                                       View Comments

Anglican priest guilty of sexual assaulting teen

By Steve Levin, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The Rev. David Valencia pleaded guilty yesterday in Common Pleas Court to sexual assault stemming from a series of incidents in 2001 involving a high school junior he was counseling at church.

Judge Donna Jo McDaniel sentenced him to 2 to 4 years in prison and 5 years' probation. He also must register as a sex offender.

"We think that this is justice served," said the victim's father. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette does not identify victims of sexual assaults.

Formerly assistant pastor at Christ Church at Grove Farm in Ohio Township, Mr. Valencia pleaded guilty to four felony charges, including one count of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, and three counts of unlawful contact with a minor. He also pleaded guilty to indecent assault, endangering welfare of children and corruption of minors.

Mr. Valencia, 49, was ordained in 1998 as an Anglican priest by a Ugandan diocese. Bishop Robert Duncan of the Episcopal Diocese in Pittsburgh had refused to ordain him, saying he was no longer a practicing Episcopalian.

The Ugandan bishop who ordained him has since retired. His successor, Bishop Nathan Kyamanywa, has said he would defrock the priest if he were found guilty of the charges.

According to court records, Mr. Valencia worked from 1998 until May 2002 at Christ Church at Grove Farm. He was accused of assaulting the girl during a series of counseling sessions in May and June 2001.

The church's rector, the Rev. John Guest, was told in June 2001 that Mr. Valencia was viewing sexually explicit Internet sites on his church computer. Mr. Guest, who could not be reached for comment yesterday, said he disciplined the assistant priest at the time and told him to seek counseling.

The victim's father said the church leader did not do enough, especially after Mr. Valencia continued counseling teens for several months after Mr. Guest disciplined him.

"I looked [John Guest] right in the eye and I said, 'John, he's counseling my daughter. Is she safe?'" the victim's father said. "He said, 'Yes, she's safe.' She was not safe."

A spokesman for the district attorney's office said a court hearing will be scheduled later on whether Mr. Valencia should be classified as a sexually violent predator.