Another day, another underage gay sex scandal in the Catholic Church. This one involves a priest from Allentown, Pennsylvania and a teen boy he met on social media back in 2011.
Reverend Monsignor Francis Nave is accused of initially contacting the 16-year-old boy through a gay social media website. The teen had joined the site looking for support and friendship while he came to terms with his sexuality.
According to the lawsuit, Nave, who was the pastor of the Sacred Heart parish in Bath, Pennsylvania at the time, told the teen that he was a “skilled counselor” and offered to help him with his issues.
The Morning Call reports:
Through intimate and personal conversations in which the priest told the boy he wanted to be his friend, Nave groomed the boy sexually, the suit alleges. He asked sexually explicit questions, according to the lawsuit, and told the boy that he was masturbating during their conversations.
After proposing that he and the boy communicate through video conferencing apps such as Skype or Facetime, the suit says, Nave conducted the video sessions from his room in the rectory while the boy was in his Virginia home.
According to the lawsuit, during their first video session Nave instructed the teen to get naked and masturbate on camera. When the teen expressed his discomfort with the idea, Nave assured him it was all a part of the counseling and that it would help him “cope with his issues.”
As the video counseling sessions continued, Nave was eventually able to persuade the teen to engage in other sexual behavior. Images from the sessions were captured by the youth in screenshots, which his lawyer, Jeff Herman, shared with media this week.
Herman says the sessions continued for about a year before the teen, who is now 23, broke off communication with Nave.
“He was contacted again over the years but he has not wanted to have conversation with [Nave],” Herman says. “He felt completely used and hurt. He has been struggling with this.”
Now, he adds, “This brave young man is coming forward to expose a sexual predator in a position of power at the Diocese of Allentown. He hopes to prevent future victims. It is appalling that in 2018 there are still sexual predators in the Catholic Church disguising themselves as men of God.”
No charges have been filed against Nave, but police continue to investigate. A spokesperson for the Allentown Diocese says he has been removed from ministry pending the outcome of the investigation.