A priest has been removed from the Allentown diocese after a lawsuit accused him of persuading a teen boy to commit sex acts during video counseling sessions.
Reverend Monsignor Francis Nave allegedly contacted the 16-year-old boy in 2012 through a gay social media website. Nave was the pastor of the Sacred Heart parish in Bath, Pennsylvania at the time.
The lawsuit alleges the teen was depressed and Nave told him it was his job as a Catholic priest to help people and listen to their problems. Monsignor Nave then began to mentor the teen, assuring him that he just wanted to be his friend and help him, according to the lawsuit.
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Nave then allegedly persuaded the teen to speak to him via Skype or Facetime during their counseling sessions. During some of those sessions, Nave took off his clothes and masturbated on camera and told the teen to do the same, the lawsuit alleges.
The lawsuit states the teen boy took screenshots of some of these encounters.
“This brave young man is coming forward to expose a sexual predator in a position of power at the Diocese of Allentown. He hopes to prevent future victims,” the teen’s lawyer, Jeff Herman said. “It is appalling that in 2018 there are still sexual predators in the Catholic Church disguising themselves as men of God.”
A spokesperson for the Allentown Diocese said they contacted police and removed Nave from ministry pending the outcome of the investigation after learning about the allegations.
No charges have been filed yet but police continue to investigate.
Efforts byt the AP to reach Nave for comment were unsuccessful.