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Criminal defense: New York deacon faces sex assault charges

An allegedly indecent altercation on a Manhattan subway has landed a man of the cloth in contentious waters, according to local news sources. The 55-year-old deacon of a local church is now facing sexual assault charges following an incident where he allegedly groped a female commuter. New York authorities have stated he is due back in court in February, where he will be accompanied by criminal defense representation. 

The arrest report says that around 9:30 a.m. the morning of Dec. 12, the man was riding the F train subway near 47th Street when the incident is said to have occurred. A 27-year-old woman reports the deacon placed his hand on her crotch without consent on the crowded subway car. She says she attempted to move away but that he kept his hand placed in the inappropriate spot. 

The man got off a few stops later, where the woman was able to take photos of him on her cell phone. He was identified from those photos and was arrested on Dec. 15. He now faces charges of third-degree sex abuse and two counts of forcible touching. If he is found guilty, he could face serious consequences. 

Allegations of sex abuse have dogged the Catholic church for a long time, a point New York prosecutors are legally obligated to ignore in prosecuting this case. However, the damage to the man's reputation and the risk to his career are undeniable. His criminal defense team will focus on protecting his legal rights with regard to the claimed assault, and will review all pertinent evidence (including the cell phone footage) so as to prepare challenges to its admissibility in court if and when the times comes. 

Source: New York Post, "Deacon charged with grabbing woman's crotch on subway", Tina Moore, Dec. 18, 2017

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