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Former Arlington priest charged with sexual assault of minor

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Attorney General Mark R. Herring has secured two felony charges against retired priest Terry Specht, 69, of Donegal, Pa., for alleged sexual assault against a minor.

Specht served as the director of the Arlington Diocese Office of Child Protection and Safety from 2004 to 2011.

The charges of 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 were returned by a Fairfax County grand jury.

“Children should always feel comfortable around religious leaders in their life, without fear that they could somehow hurt them,” Herring said. “Our joint investigation with the Virginia State Police into potential clergy abuse in Virginia remains ongoing, and I am proud of the work that we have done so far. I want to encourage any Virginian who may have information about this or any other instance of clergy abuse to please come forward. No matter how long ago the incident occurred, we will take it seriously and make sure that you get the help and support you deserve.”

The complainant in this case came forward in 2019 as part of the ongoing investigation into clergy abuse. A trial in this matter is scheduled for October 2022.

This is the third defendant charged as part of Attorney General Herring and Virginia State Police’s ongoing investigation into whether criminal sexual abuse of children may have occurred in Virginia’s Catholic dioceses.

If you or someone you know has additional information about these or any other instances of abuse, contact the Virginia Clergy Abuse Hotline at 1-833-454-9064 or at that are both available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to receive reports of clergy abuse.


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