Former Arlington director of child protection office acquitted on sexual battery charge

Joe Bukuras   By Joe Bukuras for CNA


null / Lisa F. Young via

Boston, Mass., Oct 10, 2022 / 14:30 pm (CNA).

The Diocese of Arlington, Virgina’s former director for the Office of Child Protection, Father Terry Specht, was found not guilty Oct. 5 of aggravated sexual battery.

Specht was indicted in December 2021 on two charges related to child sexual abuse. One of those charges was dropped during court proceedings.

Bishop Michael Burbidge of the Diocese of Arlington issued a statement after the priest’s acquittal. “While Father Specht was found not guilty, I nevertheless convey my heartfelt and sincere sorrow to anyone who has suffered sexual abuse,” Burbidge said.

“The Diocese of Arlington continues to offer whatever counseling or pastoral support we can to help them manage their pain and suffering,” he added.

Specht’s lawyer, Dawn Butorac, told the Washington Post that it was “obvious” that Specht was not guilty of the charges.

“They put a man who has dedicated his life to service of his community, both in the Navy and as a priest, in jeopardy by threatening his liberty,” Butorac said.

Specht served the diocese as a priest since 1996. He was the director of the diocese’s Office of Child Protection from 2004 to 2011. Specht is now retired and was last reported to be living in Pennsylvania.

Victoria LaCivita, a spokeswoman for Attorney General Jason Miyares, said that the outcome of the case is disappointing, according to the Washington Post.

“There are many difficulties that come with prosecuting decades-old sexual assault cases, and our team worked diligently to support this victim and provide them a voice,” she said.

The Diocese of Arlington said that it has a “zero-tolerance policy” for abuse.

“We encourage anyone who knows of any misconduct or abuse on the part of any cleric, employee, or volunteer of the diocese to notify civil authorities, as well as to reach out to the diocesan victim assistance coordinator at (703) 841-2530,” the diocese said in a press release.

If you value the news and views Catholic World Report provides, please consider donating to support our efforts. Your contribution will help us continue to make CWR available to all readers worldwide for free, without a subscription. Thank you for your generosity!

Click here for more information on donating to CWR. Click here to sign up for our newsletter.

About Catholic News Agency 7495 Articles
Catholic News Agency (

1 Trackback / Pingback

  1. Former Arlington director of child protection office acquitted on sexual battery charge | Passionists Missionaries Kenya, Vice Province of St. Charles Lwanga, Fathers & Brothers

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

All comments posted at Catholic World Report are moderated. While vigorous debate is welcome and encouraged, please note that in the interest of maintaining a civilized and helpful level of discussion, comments containing obscene language or personal attacks—or those that are deemed by the editors to be needlessly combative or inflammatory—will not be published. Thank you.