OC priest placed on administrative leave after being accused of sexually molesting young boy

STANTON, Calif. (KABC) -- A priest in Orange County was placed on administrative leave after accusations surfaced that he sexually molested a young boy in the 1990s. Now, the man at the center of the allegations is calling on his removal from the priesthood.

For decades, the now 28-year-old man kept what happened at Saint Polycarp Catholic School in Stanton a secret. He broke his silence after filing a lawsuit against the Roman Catholic Bishop of Orange, as well as Father Edward Poettgen, who is accused of molesting him on two occasions when he was about 5 years old.

The lawsuit claims Poettgen undressed, fondled and penetrated the alleged victim.

"I was easily manipulated and intimidated but I'm not a scared little boy anymore," said the man, who has not been publicly identified.

John Manly, the alleged victim's attorney, claims that church officials tried to keep the accusations quiet when he tried to report what happened about a year ago.

"It was like it was 1985 all over again. They hid it, they concealed," said Manly, who added that the incident was also reported to police.

Father Poettgen is now a priest at Saint Boniface in Anaheim.

"This needs to change. There is nothing more serious than an allegation of child molestation and the Diocese of Orange continues to treat this like it's a traffic violation," Manly said.

In a written statement, the diocese said it cannot comment on pending litigation.

"I feel like a new person. I don't feel scared all the time. I'm not waking up in cold sweats like I was multiple times a week and it's still a rollercoaster ride that I will deal with for the rest of my life but I feel strength at having faced the person who hurt me so badly," the accuser said.
Copyright © 2022 KABC Television, LLC. All rights reserved.