EAST STROUDSBURG, Pa. (AP) — The founder of a boys choir based in northeastern Pennsylvania is heading to trial on charges alleging he sexually abused a member of the choir nearly two decades ago.

Authorities say 74-year-old Bernard Schade had a preliminary hearing Wednesday on charges of rape, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, aggravated indecent assault and statutory sexual assault.

He’s accused of raping a boy in 1996 who was under the age of 16. Authorities said the man came forward with the allegations last month.

Schade founded the choir in 1970 and remains its artistic director. The choir, mostly based in Monroe and Northampton counties, has had thousands of members over the years.

When asked for comment outside of court Wednesday, Schade responded repeatedly, “Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.”

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