By Associated Press - Wednesday, May 5, 2021

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (AP) - A former Virginia priest has been charged with sexually assaulting a minor four decades ago.

Paul David Ryan, a former Catholic priest who was assigned to a parish and school in Virginia Beach, has been indicted by a grand jury on two felony counts of carnal knowledge by force of a minor under the age of 18, Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring announced Tuesday.

Herring said in a news release that the alleged assaults took place between 1979 and 1980 while Ryan was assigned to Star of the Sea Parish and the affiliated Star of the Sea School.

Ryan is accused in the indictments of taking the victim on a ski trip to Massanutten Resort in Rockingham County “under the pretense of a church-sanctioned outing.” The indictments allege that during the trip, Ryan sexually assaulted the victim twice.

Ryan was identified through an ongoing investigation into clergy sex abuse in Virginia by Herring’s office and Virginia State Police.



Herring said Ryan, who is Australian and has been living in his native country, is currently in custody and in the process of being extradited back to Virginia for trial.

The Virginian-Pilot reported that Ryan, who was ordained in Australia in 1976, was sent by Catholic officials to the United States for treatment of homosexual behavior he’d exhibited toward other seminary students, according to a 2007 Pilot story about another sexual assault case.

Two men who spoke to the newspaper then said Ryan had abused them while they were students at Star of the Sea Catholic School in the late 1970s. The men said they were 14 and 15 at the time. They also said Ryan gave them alcohol and marijuana.

In 2006, Ryan pleaded guilty in Australia to five counts of indecent assault of two teenage boys and was sentenced to 18 months, the story said. That abuse reportedly occurred in the late 1980s.

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