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Former Tariffville Priest Found Guilty of Sex Assault Charge

Reverend Edward Warnakulasuriya of St. Bernard's Catholic Church in Tariffville was found guilty Wednesday of sex assault charge.

A former priest at St. Bernard's Catholic Church in Tariffville was found guilty of a sex assault charge brought against him in 2011.

Reverend Edward Warnakulasuriya, 54, was arrested by the Simsbury Police Department on Aug. 11, 2011 and charged with three counts of fourth degree sexual assault.

A warrant for the arrest of Warnakulasuriya says he touched an 18-year-old male inappropriately after the man had gone to the priest’s residence for confession.

Warnakulasuriya was given a suspended 1-year sentence and 3-years of probation when he appeared before Judge Howard Scheinblum at Enfield Superior Court on Sept. 19.

The warrants states that the suspect applied holy water to the alleged victim’s forehead and gave him some to drink. On more than one occasion, the warrant says, the suspect also made the sign of the cross on his arms, legs and lips.

According to the warrant, the suspect also had the alleged victim untuck his shirt and pull it up to his chest, then told him to unbutton and unzip his pants. After the blessing, the warrant states, the suspect touched the alleged victim near his genitals.

The warrant states that on another occasion, when the suspect was comforting the alleged victim, he kissed the alleged victim’s forehead for a long time. The warrant also describes an incident where the suspect touched the victim’s testicles.

Warnakulasuriya has been living in Newington since he was place on administrative leave by the archdiocese of Hartford.

Shelley September 21, 2012 at 02:09 PM
Sounds like too light of a sentence for me!
Judy Jones September 21, 2012 at 05:12 PM
Thankfully this priest has been convicted. Let's hope that every person who saw, suspected or may have been harmed by Edward Warnakulasuriya, will find the courage and strength to speak up and contact police. Keep in mind that sexual predators rarely have only one victim. And your silence only hurts, and by speaking up there is a chance for healing, exposing the truth, and therefore protecting others. Judy Jones, SNAP Midwest Associate Director, USA, 636-433-2511. snapjudy@gmail.com, (SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests,)

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