JOHNSTOWN, Pa. – Federal prosecutors want a judge to freeze the assets of Pennsylvania priest who owes $70,000 in fines and restitution after he was convicted of sexually assaulting poor street children during missionary trips to Honduras.
The prosecutors claim Joseph Maurizio Jr. has been transferring real estate and money to his niece, and they say they've got a recorded jail phone call to prove it.
But the priest's attorneys say the niece is the priest's power of attorney and is taking control of the assets so the financial penalties can be paid. The defense attorneys say they're to blame for missing a March 18 deadline to pay the penalties and are working to correct that.
Maurizio was also ordered to spend more than 17 years in prison.