An 85-year-old nun is in hospital, a teenage boy is in custody for rape and battery, and a community is reeling in shock at a brutal and senseless crime, reports news.com.au.
The century old church is an active Catholic parish in the small steel industry town of Aliquippa.
Known for its 'ministry of hospitality which opens its doors to all comers', the church was in full swing, midway through a packed calendar of holy days and events leading up to Christmas.
Last Friday, an 85-year-old retired nun left the Sisters of St Joseph convent where she lives to walk next door to the parking lot behind St Titus church and drop papers into a recycling bin.
A young man approached her, tapping her on the shoulder and asking if she needed any help.
She said that when she turned to look at him, he had a very nice smile, Aliquippa police Detective Sergeant Steven Roberts later told CBS news.