Ex-priest charged in Maryland child abuse case

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Defrocked cleric served churches, schools in Berks County during 1970s and ’80s

A former priest who served and taught in Berks County in the 1970s and ’80s has been charged with sexually abusing a boy in a Maryland shore town in 1981.

Bruno M. Tucci, 70, of Salisbury, Md., was charged with sexual assault and child abuse by a custodian.

He was served with an arrest summons Dec. 11, and remains free awaiting further court action.

In August 1981, Tucci took the boy to an Ocean City motel room, where he sexually assaulted the boy, police said.

Police said the boy was under 18 at the time, but they did not give his exact age or release further details.

Tucci was a priest in the Allentown Diocese from 1971 to 2002, said diocese spokesman Matthew Kerr.

He taught at Holy Name High School from 1977 to 1979 and at Central Catholic High School from 1979 to 1981.

Tucci served at St. Margaret Church in Reading, 1971-72; at St. Columbkill Church in Colebrookdale Township in 1977; at Most Blessed Sacrament Church in Bally, 1977-78; and at St. Peter Church in Reading, 1978-81.

When the alleged abuse took place in Maryland, he was serving at Immaculate Conception Church in Kelayres, Schuylkill County.

Tucci was among several priests the diocese removed in 2002 over old allegations of child abuse, and he was defrocked in 2007, Kerr said.

Tucci was never charged with a sex crime in Pennsylvania, which has a statute of limitations in child abuse cases.

However, laws in Maryland are different, with child sex abuse listed among the “infamous crimes” that are exempt from a statute of limitations, police said.

Police said that enabled them to charge Tucci even though the alleged incident occurred more than 30 years ago.

In the Ocean City case, the alleged victim decided to come forward after reading coverage of the Jerry Sandusky sex assault case at Penn State, said Michael Leavy, Ocean City police public affairs officer.

Leavy said police are continuing an investigation.

“If there are other victims, we want them to know we’ll do our best to make sure he’s held accountable, that he faces justice,” Leavy said.

He said anyone with information should call Detective Brett L. Case at 410-723-6632.

Contact Mike Urban: 610-371-5023 or murban@readingeagle.com.

Source: Reading Eagle