Pedophile Claims Religion Allows Him To Abuse Boys
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
August 14, 2006
CLEVELAND, OHIO--Phillip Distasio does not deny that he sexually abused several boys with disabilities. Instead, he claims that he should be protected from prosecution because the practice is part of his religion.
Distasio has been charged with 74 criminal counts, including allegations that he sexually molested two boys he tutored at his home and raped seven boys with autism while he was a teacher's aide at a Cleveland school.
According to the Plain Dealer, all but one of the boys was under 13 years of age, which means that Distasio would receive a mandatory sentence of life in prison if he is convicted.
Distasio, who admits to being a pedophile, claims he is a pagan friar with the Arcadian Fields Ministries, which he founded. He argues that his young victims are "congregants" of his church, and believes children -- even those with disabilities -- have the "right" to consent to sex with adults.
Distasio has refused to accept advice from his court-appointed attorney, who disagreed with Distasio's "religious freedom" argument.
"Pedophile: Sex with boys is sacred religious ritual" (Cleveland Plain Dealer)