UNSIGNED CONFESSION (Woman: Priest admits to sex abuse in 1991 letter)
Rev. James Smith is accused of molesting a Long Island woman when she was 10 or 11 years old at a Queens Catholic School. The woman, Carol Poppito, now 41, said he admitted his perverse behavior in a letter to her, writing I don't blame you if you curse me. She said Smith had warned her, Don't tell anybody, and Don't tell your father, a police lieutenant, about the abuse. She said it wasn't until she was on a car trip with her mother and other family members in 1991 that she revealed the secret she had been carrying for 20 years. Poppito, who attended Holy Trinity School in Whitestone in the early 1970s, said Smith would take her out of class several times a year, from the time she was in the fifth or sixth grade until eighth grade, and molest her in the stairwell and an empty nurse's office. Smith, 71, was forced to step down as pastor of St. Kevin's Church in Flushing last month amid allegations he had sexually molested three boys at Holy Trinity Church two decades ago. Since then, more than two dozen other people have made allegations against Smith. Poppito said her mother tracked Smith down at St. Kevin's and called him. A few days later, she said, she received a two-page letter allegedly written by Smith, asking forgiveness and telling her how much he hated himself.