MIDDLETOWN – A Margaretville priest was charged Thursday with 20 charges connected to the alleged sexual abuse of six boys.

The Rev. James McDevitt, 63, pastor of the Sacred Heart Catholic Church, pleaded not guilty to the charges in Middletown Town Court.

McDevitt is alleged to have told the six boys to take down their pants and underpants and then lie across his lap. He then spanked them three times on their bare butts, according to court documents.

The alleged victims range in age from 11 to 19. The incidents allegedly occurred between October and mid-April.

The misdemeanor charges include six counts of second-degree sexual abuse, six counts of forcible touching, seven counts of endangering the welfare of a child and one count of third-degree sexual abuse.

McDevitt, who appeared in court with his attorney, George laMarche III of Troy, was released on $1,000 bail to reappear at 10 a.m. Aug. 13.

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