SYRACUSE, N.Y. – A 77-year-old former Catholic priest was sentenced Monday to 60 days in jail for repeatedly molesting a teenage boy.
City Judge Kate Rosenthal also ordered Francis DeLuca to serve six years of probation in addition to the jail time and declared him a Level 1 sex offender under New York 's registry act. DeLuca at first faced only probation, but Rosenthal backed out of that deal because DeLuca did not appear to understand the consequences of his conduct.
DeLuca offered an apology in court to his family and friends before he was taken into custody and sent to Onondaga County Correctional Facility to begin his jail time. DeLuca, who pleaded guilty to one count of second-degree sexual abuse, two counts of third-degree sexual abuse, and two counts of endangering the welfare of a child, could have faced up to two years in prison.
DeLuca returned to his hometown of Syracuse in the early 1990s after he was dismissed from public ministry in Delaware , where he was accused of sexually abusing a minor 30 years earlier. He was arrested in October after a Syracuse teen told his parents he had been sexually abused by the priest from the time he was 12 or 13 until the age of 17.
DeLuca served in Wilmington , Del. for 35 years. Shortly after DeLuca was arrested last fall, Wilmington Bishop Michael Saltarelli released the names of 20 diocesan priests, including DeLuca, against whom the diocese had substantiated allegations of child sexual abuse.
In July, former federal appeals court attorney Robert Quill became the first person to file a lawsuit under a new Delaware law allowing victims of child sexual abuse to seek damages for abuse that occurred years ago.
Quill, 52, of Marathon , Fla. , filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court alleging that, as a teenager, he was repeatedly molested by DeLuca. Quill, who retired as a staff attorney for the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta after being diagnosed in 2002 with post-traumatic stress disorder, claimed he was molested at least 300 times by DeLuca.
The lawsuit alleges that church officials in Wilmington knew as early as 1958 that DeLuca was sexually abusing young boys, yet continued to allow him to serve as a priest for a generation.