A Roman Catholic priest was arrested on perjury charges Wednesday, accused of lying about his relationship with a mobster in testimony to a grand jury investigating a casino owner's possible ties to organized crime.
The Rev. Joseph Sica was arrested outside his home in Scranton. He is an adviser to Mount Airy Casino Resort owner Louis DeNaples, who is the subject of the grand jury investigation.
Sica's arrest is the first to result from the Dauphin County grand jury probe, which is focused on whether DeNaples misled the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board when he said he had no connections to organized crime.
Sica was accused of lying to the grand jury last August about his relationship with the late Russell Bufalino, an organized crime boss who served lengthy prison terms in the 1970s and '80s, according to grand jury findings cited in court papers.
The papers said Sica falsely told the grand jury that he had met Bufalino only by chance and had no relationship with him.
Prosecutors said the finding was based partly on a photograph that showed the priest arm-in-arm with Bufalino and another photo of him with William D'Elia of Hughestown, who reputedly heads the Bufalino crime family now.
Also, in a 1982 letter to Ginny Thornburgh, the wife of then-Gov. Dick Thornburgh, Sica referred to Bufalino as "his friend" and asked her to help free Bufalino, whom he called an innocent man, prosecutors said.
Sica was scheduled to be arraigned later Wednesday before Dauphin County Judge Todd A. Hoover, who is overseeing the grand jury investigation.