Sexual abuse survivor speaks out after priest’s guilty plea

Local News

As David Poulson pleaded guilty to two sexual offenses, a different survivor was in the courtroom Wednesday. He said it was an emotional day to see his abuser for the first time.

Jim VanSickle is one of the victims sexually abused by former Erie Diocese priest David Poulson.

“When he stood up and walked out, I made sure I stood up so he could see me,” VanSickle said. “He did not make eye contact or turn his head. For me, that was important.”

However, VanSickle wasn’t able to press charges against Poulson because the statute of limitations window passed in his case.

Poulson plead guilty to sexual offenses against two boys between 2002 and 2010.

Attorney General Josh Shapiro said today the victims are getting some justice, but he’s urging lawmakers to eliminate the statute of limitations to give justice to people like Jim VanSickle

“While I know that today brings some comfort and closure to Jim, it also highlights the need to change our laws here in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania,” Shapiro said.

As for VanSickle, he said today’s a step toward healing, and one day, maybe even forgiveness.

“My faith tells me that I’m going to have to, for my own personal reasons, forgive this man,” VanSickle said. “I can tell you I’m not there yet, but I know that before I leave this earth, I will do that.”

Poulson’s sentencing has not been scheduled yet. He could face up to 14 years in prison and will be on the registered sex offenders list.

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