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Court Reverses Ex-Priest’s Sexual Assault Conviction

EASTLAND, Texas (CN) - A Texas appeals court has overturned the conviction of a former priest accused of sexually assaulting an 11-year-old boy in the early 1990s.

As grounds for reversal, the 11th Court of Appeals cited the erroneous admission of testimony from a former victim-turned-advocate.

Witness David Lewcon claimed to have been sexually assaulted, in much the same way as the plaintiff had, by the same priest, Thomas Teczar.

The court rejected the admission of Lewcon's testimony on two grounds: he lacked the qualifications of an expert witness and his description of his own alleged abuse was unnecessary.

Though Lewcon helped found two victims' advocacy groups, he has "never received or applied for any kind of license as an expert on clerical abuse of children," Senior Justice John Boyd wrote.

"Under this record," Boyd added, "we can also conclude that Lewcon lacked the qualifications to testify as an expert and that his testimony was not supported by evidence of any scientific theory, soft or otherwise."

Additionally, his testimony about his own abuse would only be used to show that Teczar "was a bad person generally who used his position as a priest to seduce underage adolescents in cases other than the one for which he was on trial," Boyd wrote. "That is an impermissible purpose."

Similarly, the appeals court said it was a mistake to let Lewcon describe uncharged acts of sexual abuse against others over the course of several decades.

The plaintiff in the immediate trial lived across the street from Teczar in the late 1980s and early 1990s. He claimed the priest invited him over to smoke marijuana, drink and perform sex acts on each other, often with the participation of a third man in his twenties.

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