Source AP ©

Roman Catholic ex-priest to serve 2-year prison sentence for boy molesting

A former Roman Catholic priest started to serve his two-year prison sentence in New York for molesting a 6-year-old boy.

Judge Ralph Gazzillo previously postponed jail for Barry Ryan, who pleaded guilty three years ago, because the ex-priest has terminal liver cancer. But Gazzillo issued an arrest warrant in August, after prosecutors claimed he was using his illness as an excuse to avoid incarceration.

Ryan, 58, was arrested in Missouri and returned to New York last week, said Assistant District Attorney Rosamaria Abbate. The former priest appeared in court Monday before Gazzillo, who signed papers sending Ryan to an upstate prison.

Ryan will be held in protective custody and under a suicide watch, and will receive cancer treatment while in prison.

When he pleaded guilty in October 2004 to sexual conduct against a child, prosecutors and the boy's family agreed on a two-year sentence, expecting Ryan might not live long enough to serve the full term.

The victim's mother, who described Ryan as a close family friend who took advantage of her son, has since said she would not have agreed to the two-term if she thought the ex-priest would have lived this long. She was not identified to protect the anonymity of her son because he is a victim of a sex crime.

Ryan was assigned to parishes in the Brooklyn and Queens boroughs of New York in the 1970s and 1980s. Prosecutors said he molested the boy while visiting friends on suburban Long Island in 2003. He was suspended from the priesthood in 1995 after he was accused of engaging in inappropriate sexual activities while he was an Air Force chaplain in Montgomery, Alabama.

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