UNIONTOWN, Pennsylvania — A western Pennsylvania Catholic priest who sexually assaulted an altar boy for several years has been sentenced to 2 1/2 to five years in state prison.

Father Andrew Mark Kawecki, of Greensburg will also have to register as a sex offender for 10 years once he’s freed from custody under the sentence imposed Thursday. He had pleaded no contest last October to indecent assault.

Prosecutors said the sexual abuse began in 2004, when the victim was an 11-year-old altar boy, and occurred in a back room of the Saints Cyril and Methodius Church in Fairchance, where Kawecki prepared for services. The repeated assaults continued for three years, until the victim was 14.

Kawecki was removed from the ministry and parishioners were notified after investigators received a tip about Kawecki in May 2019. The state attorney general’s office has said that after he was charged in 2020 another victim made allegations of similar abuse but those claims were too old to be prosecuted under the criminal statute of limitations.