Ex-priest who worked to protect Arlington kids charged with child sex abuse: AG Herring

ABC 7 News, Washington D.C./December 28, 2021

By Ida Domingo

Arlington, Virginia — A former priest with the Arlington Diocese Office of Child Protection and Safety is facing charges for an alleged sexual assault against a minor, according to the office of Attorney General Mark Herring.

According to a statement from Herring’s office, the former priest, 69-year-old Terry Specht, of Donegal, Pennsylvania, served as the director of the Arlington Diocese Office of Child Protection and Safety from 2004 to 2011.

Officials say the Fairfax County grand jury indicted Specht for aggravated sexual battery of a child under the age of 13 and sexual abuse of a child over whom a custodial or supervisory relationship existed.

This case came to light in 2019 as part of the ongoing investigation into clergy abuse. Officials say Specht is the third person charged as part of Herring and Virginia State Police’s ongoing investigation into whether criminal sexual abuse of children may have occurred in Virginia’s Catholic dioceses.

Herring's office says a trial for Specht is scheduled for October 2022.

"Criminal indictments are only charges and not evidence of guilt. Specht is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty," the statement said.

Officials ask anyone with information about other instances of ab.

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