- Associated Press - Thursday, November 6, 2014

JOHNSTOWN, Pa. (AP) - Federal prosecutors are appealing a magistrate’s order that would release a Pennsylvania priest from jail and confine him to his home until he stands trial on charges that he traveled to Honduras for sex with poor street children during missionary trips.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Keith Pesto on Thursday ruled the Rev. Joseph Maurizio could be released to home detention as long as his bank accounts are frozen and he’s not able to access church-related funds. Prosecutors are concerned the 69-year-old priest could use the money to flee the country before he’s prosecuted.

Pesto ruled that Maurizio must remain jailed, however, until prosecutors appeal the release order.

Defense attorney Steven Passarello claims the priest has been wrongly accused by Honduran children the attorney claims were coaxed to defame the priest by a rival missionary organization in that country.

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