Catholic Priest Charged With Sodomy in N.Y.

A terminally ill Catholic priest was jailed Friday on $500,000 bond for allegedly sodomizing a boy during a Long Island visit last year, Suffolk County prosecutors said.

Barry E. Ryan, 56, a resident of Martin County, Fla., since 1997, signed a statement confessing to the sexual assault that occurred between May and October 2003 in a private home, District Attorney Thomas Spota said.

Ryan pleaded innocent at his arraignment and was remanded to the Suffolk County jail after he was unable to post $100,000 cash bail or a $500,000 bond, said Robert Clifford, a spokesman for the district attorney. Ryan was arrested Thursday and charged with first-degree sodomy.

Ryan, who told police he's suffering from terminal cancer, has not been attached to any parish or performed any priestly duties since 1995, when he was discharged from the U.S. Air Force, the district attorney said.

Other details of the case were withheld to protect the identity of the boy, who was under the age of 11 at the time of the alleged crime, the DA said.

Ryan was ordained in 1976 and enlisted as a chaplain in the Air Force in 1984. Before that he worked at the parishes of St. Joseph's and St. Mark's in the Brooklyn diocese.

The diocese notified the Suffolk district attorney after receiving information that Ryan allegedly sodomized the youngster during recent visits to Long Island, Suffolk DA's office Deputy Inspector James Burke said.

The defendant, in his written confession, said he received inpatient treatment for pedophilia, depression and alcoholism this year at St. Luke's Institute (search), a psychiatric hospital in Silver Springs, Md., Burke said.

Ryan told police the Brooklyn diocese was instrumental in obtaining the therapy for him.