Suspended Priest Charged With Sexual Assault

Tuesday, Apr 1, 2014  |  Updated 6:57 AM EDT
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Former Priest Charged With Sex Assault

A Connecticut priest who was suspended last year has been arrested on several sexual assault charges.

Rev. Paul Gotta, 55, of Bridgeport, was charged with five counts of fourth-degree sexual assault and two counts of second-degree sexual assault. 

Police said Gotta has been accused of sexual misconduct and the arrest comes after a joint investigation by the East Windsor Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. 

Gotta had been the administrator of St. Philip Church in East Windsor and St. Catherine Church in Broad Brook but was placed on administrative leave after being accused of sexual abuse, according to the Archdiocese of Hartford.

In July, officials from the Archdiocese of Hartford said the Department of Children and Families was investigating a complaint of sexual abuse of a minor against Gotta.

"Pursuant to its established policy, the Archdiocese placed Fr. Gotta on administrative leave in July 2013 when word of sexual misconduct allegations first surfaced. He will remain on administrative leave until these charges are resolved through the court system," a statement from the Archdiocese of Hartford said.

In July 2013, Gotta was charged with aiding and abetting the unlawful transport of a firearm in interstate commerce and the purchase of a handgun by a juvenile.

Gotta is the same priest who contacted police last June to report an 18-year-old who had allegedly made threats against his school, the Metropolitan Learning Center, in Bloomfield.

The arrest warrant is sealed, according to police.

"It is important for the public to know that the Archdiocese is committed to keeping children safe through efforts like the "Safe Environment Program" which requires background checks for all personnel who have regular contact with children and young people and includes Virtus training and sexual awareness for all such personnel, and seminars," the statement from Archdiocese says. "We offer our prayers for all concerned in this matter and for all who have suffered the effects of sexual abuse in our society. We also pray that truth, justice and healing will be served for everyone involved in this case."

Gotta is due in court in Enfield today on the most recent charges.

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