A retired priest who served for years as the director of the Catholic Church’s child protection office in Arlington, Virginia, was indicted last week on two felony counts of sexual battery and abuse of a child.
According to an indictment returned by a Fairfax County grand Dec. 20, prosecutors presented sufficient evidence to charge Terry Specht, 69, with sexually abusing a child under the age of 12 while working at the Arlington Diocese in 2000. Specht is facing a second felony charge because he had a “custodial or supervisory relationship” with the child at the time.
In 2019, amid a national reckoning about long-simmering allegations of abuse by Catholic clergy, the Diocese of Arlington released the names of 50 priests who had been “credibly accused” of sexual abuse of minors. At the time, the diocese noted that Specht, who served as the director of the Arlington Diocese’s Office of Child Protection and Safety from 2004 to 2011, had been accused of sexual assault in 2011, but that the Arlington Diocesan Review Board was “not able to come to a decision as to the credibility” of those accusations. Specht was placed on administrative leave and entered medical retirement shortly thereafter.
At the time of the alleged 2000 assault, Specht was serving as an assistant principal at Paul VI Catholic High School in Chantilly, Virginia.