Retired priest facing charges

Cain, who has ties to SFU, accused of misconduct with teen

A retired Catholic priest with ties to Saint Francis University turned himself in to police Wednesday in Fairfax County, Va., where he is accused of having inappropriate contact with a 15-year-old girl.

Gervase Cain, 86, a retired priest living in Loretto, has been charged with taking indecent liberties with a child for an alleged 2003 incident.

In 2003, Cain — then 72 years old — allegedly touched a 15-year-old girl inappropriately during a “consultation” at her Fairfax home, according to a Fairfax County Police news release.

The incident was first reported to police in 2004, but the complaint was later withdrawn, police said.

The case was reopened this May, and a warrant for Cain’s arrest was issued on July 17. Cain turned himself in Wednesday, according to police.

On Friday, a man answering phones at the Saint Francis Friary in Loretto said Cain is affiliated with the local Franciscan Friars of the Third Order Regular.

However, he said additional information would have to come from Minister Provincial Richard Davis. A phone message left for Davis Friday afternoon was not immediately returned.

Cain was ordained in 1957 and taught at schools in Philadelphia and York, according to a post on the friary’s website.

From 1983-89 he served as a pastor in a number of churches in Pennsylvania and West Virginia before being assigned to oversee the renovation of a retirement facility in Frederick County, Va.

Cain was a resident at the retirement facility — owned by the Franciscan Friars — at the time of the alleged inappropriate contact, according to the post.

The Franciscan Friars of the Third Order Regular play a large role at Loretto’s Saint Francis University — “one of the oldest Catholic universities in the country and the oldest dedicated to Franciscan values.”

And a list of endowment scholarships posted to the university’s website gives some insight about Gervase’s former role at the school.

A description of the Father Gervase Cain, TOR, Scholarship reveals Cain taught philosophy at Saint Francis for 20 years and served as the university’s vice president from 1976-83.

University Marketing and Communications Director Marie Young said Cain is no longer affiliated with the college.

“It’s been 34 years since he’s been with us,” she said, unable to comment on the “incident in question.”

This is not the first time a member of the religious order has been accused of wrongdoing.

In 2016, retired Hollidaysburg-based leaders with Franciscan Friars of the Third Order Regular — Giles A. Schinelli, Robert J. D’Aversa, and Anthony M. Criscitelli — each were charged with endangering the welfare of children and criminal conspiracy for their alleged involvement in allowing an accused child predator, the late Brother Stephen Baker, access to a Catholic high school in Johnstown.

Mirror Staff Writer Sean Sauro is at 946-7535.


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