Conn. Priest Accused of Sexual Assault With Cross

By Bob Connors, Jeff Saperstone and Shirley Chan
|  Saturday, Aug 13, 2011  |  Updated 9:58 AM EDT
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A Simsbury priest was charged with sexual abuse

A Simsbury priest was charged with sexual abuse

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A Connecticut priest has been arrested, accused of using a cross to sexually assault an 18-year-old male parishioner who went to him for confession.

According to court documents, the parishioner went to Rev. Edward Warnakulasuriya’s house Simsbury, Conn. for confession.

During the second visit to the home, the priest asked the man to go upstairs to the guestroom for confession, the court documents state.

While there, the priest asked the man to unzip his pants and then held a crucifix to the parishioner’s private parts, according to the documents.

Warnakulasuriya was taken into custody on Thursday and charged with three counts of fourth-degree sexual assault, according to police. He made a brief appearance in court in Enfield on Friday and his case was continued until Aug. 26.

Hartford Archbishop, Most Rev. Henry Mansell, appointed Warnakulasuriya administrator of St. Bernard's Catholic Church in the Tariffville section of Simsbury in August 2010, according to the church's Web site. The Archdiocese released a statement Thursday evening.

"In light of the police investigation and charges, the Archdiocese of Hartford has placed Fr. Edward Warnakulasuriya on administrative leave, which means he cannot perform his duties as a priest, namely the administration of the Sacraments. We will cooperate fully with the investigation."

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