Category:Diocese of Pittsburgh

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Diocese of Pittsburgh

Diocese of Pittsburgh Accusations concerning 14 priests and former priests were made in a lawsuit 2004. Earlier, six priests had been accused of sexual abuse up to January 2003. Early 2002, the bishop removed from ministry several priests he had allowed to keep working in spite of “credible” abuse allegations. The bishop and his spokesman would not identify the men or say how many there were or characterize the accusations. The priests had been kept on the job after church investigators could not substantiate the claims against them, a diocesan spokesman said. Now, he explained, “we raised the bar.” Four people, including two former altar boys, who say they were abused by priests in various places ranging from confessional booths to the priests’ cars when they were children 1972-1994, accused the diocese of covering it up, in a lawsuit filed 14 January 2004. Six new complaints were filed against the diocese, alleging that it covered up child sexual abuse accusations against five priests, 30 June 2004.

Hausen excommunication Rev. William Hausen incurred an automatic excommunication from the Catholic Church for forming an independent church and conducting a religious service May 2004.

  1. Christ Hope Ecumenical Catholic Church Set up by Rev. William Hausen whose followers “need to know that free and willful participation in this church implies separation from the Catholic Church” and cannot consider themselves in good standing.

Diocesan Case List

(database of allegations of sexual abuse by priests)

[over 20 offenders identified, 33 listed]

Adams case Rev. Alvin Adams (1941-), ordained 1967, has been on leave since March 2009 while the diocese investigated allegations he fondled a 16-year-old girl in the 1970s. Two other alleged victims came forward later. He resigned his position at Ascension Church and his chaplaincy at Bishop Canevin High School. Three accusers known as of February 10 but only one was considered credible by Diocese. Reassignment followed the ruling of a Diocesean Review Board that deemed credible allegations, March 2010 and he began restricted supervised duties as a priest at the Sisters of St. Francis of the Providence of God motherhouse but the assignment was withdrawn after complaints from parents of nearby school.

Castelucci affair Rev. Robert Castelucci, ordained 1964, formerly of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in Braddock, accused of abuse. Removed from ministry 1995.

  1. Castelucci lawsuit One person filed lawsuit in alleging abuse by Castelucci, 2004. Claims included in Diocese's September 2007 $1.25 million settlement as to 32 plaintiffs alleging abuse by 17 priests.

Catuela affair Rev. Mauro Catuela (d. 2005), ordained 1974, a parish priest in the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh since 1974, pastor of Holy Redeemer Parish, Elwood City since 1992, and served as dean of all Lawrence County parishes, faced allegations that he had a sexual relationship with a teenage boy, and spent thousands of dollars of church money on gambling and buying pornography. Catuela denied all of the allegations, resigned as pastor 24 August 2005. Cautela collapsed and died December 2005.

Chatt affair Rev. Charles J. Chatt, ordained 1964, accused of abuse, he was removed from ministry and placed on leave in July 1992. "He formally withdrew from all priestly service on July 31, 2003." One, possibly two civil suits filed 2004. Claims included in Diocese's September 2007 $1.25 million settlement as to 32 plaintiffs alleging abuse by 17 priests. Sued 2004.

Cipolla affair Rev. Anthony Cipolla, ordained 1972, was banned from ministry in 1988 by Bishop Donald Wuerl following allegations of sexual abuse of a minor, and later suspended his privileges. Cipolla appealed to Rome and the bishop was ordered to reinstate him. Bishop Wuerl then appealed and ihe Vatican decision was reversed in 1995. Laicized involuntarily by Pope John Paul II in 2002 because he continued to act as a priest.

  1. Cipolla arrest Abused two boys in 1978 and arrested. Charges dropped after harassment of mother and pressure by church.
  2. Cipolla lawsuit Sued by another youth asserted abuse over 4 year period and mentioned earlier victims, 1988. Litigation settled in 1993.
  3. Padre Pio Spiritual Refuge Inc. Primary organization that honors St. Padre Pio is operated by the Capuchin Franciscan fathers in Pittsburgh’s Lawrenceville neighborhood and is headed by Anthony Cipolla. They are not an official ecclesiastical organization.

Diskin affair Rev. M. Eric Diskin, ordained 1975, was a priest at St. Paul Roman Catholic Church on North McKean Street in the early 1970s, accused of sexual abusing a boy on multiple occasions 1971-72. Placed on leave April 2002 from position as head of diocesan Worship Office. No reasons given. Formally withdrew from ministry March 2003. Claims included in Diocese's September 2007 $1.25 million settlement as to 32 plaintiffs alleging abuse by 17 priests.

  1. Diskin lawsuit 2004 I Diskin is one of four priests named in civil lawsuit filed against the diocese by four men molested between 1972 and 1994, 14 January 2004.
  2. Diskin lawsuit 2004 II Alleging abuse in early to mid 1970s.
  3. Diskin lawsuit 2005 Alleging abuse in early to mid 1970s.

Dolan case Rev. Jason R. Dolan, Byzantine, age 31, was placed on leave January 2005 by Byzantine Catholic Archeparchy of Pittsburgh. He later pleaded guilty to charges of possession of internet child pornography. Sentenced to 30 months. prison and lifetime probation February 2006. Released on probation July 2008.

Dorsch case Rev. Richard J. Dorsch, ordained 1975, at St. Michael the Archangel Roman Catholic Church on Center Avenue in the 1970s and 1980s.

  1. Dorsch trial Accused of kissing and fondling a 13 year-old boy during outing in 1994. Placed on leave August 1994 after incident reported, convicted by Jury, June 1995, sentenced to 11 1/2 - 23 months in county jail but served only 1 months. Formally withdrew from ministry 1996.
  2. Dorsch lawsuits 2004 Named in at least two civil suits in 2004. Claims included in Diocese's September 2007 $1.25 million settlement as to 32 plaintiffs alleging abuse by 17 priests.
  3. Dorsch lawsuit 2010 Sued July 2010 by family of Michael R. Unglo, 39, took his own life 4 May 2010 while a patient at at Austen Riggs Hospital in Massachussetsr after the Diocese of Pittsburgh reneged on a promise to continue psychiatric treatment he needed to overcome the trauma of sexual abuse by a priest 25 years ago. "He paid the ultimate price for being sexually abused as a child by a priest," said Alan H. Perer, who filed suit on behalf of the Unglo estate. The Diocese said in a statement that it had not reneged on an agreement and that financial support continued up to the time of Mr. Unglo's death.

Dzermejko affair Rev. David F. Dzermejko, ordained 1975, placed on leave June 2009 within 48 hours after diocese received allegation that he had sexually abused a minor approximately 19-20 years previously. Diocese said there was a "semblance of truth" in the allegation. Abuse is said to have occurred prior to Dzermejko's assignment to Mary Mother of the Church parish in Charleroi in c. 1991. Dzermejko has denied the allegation. Second allegation made after publicity by 1st. Review Board to render decision June 2010.

Esposito affair Rev. Ralph J. Esposito, ordained 1967, worked in Pittsburgh 1967-1978 and in Little Rock from 1978 to 1981. Incardinated to Little Rock in 1981 and retired in 2002.

  1. Esposito abuse Esposito molested a boy at Mother of Sorrows parish in McKees Rocks for three years, beginning in 1973 when the boy was 10.
  2. Esposito lawsuit Named in 2004 suit against Diocese by one man who alleged abuse at Mother of Sorrows parish for three years, beginning in 1973. Claims included in Diocese's September 2007 $1.25 million settlement as to 32 plaintiffs alleging abuse by 17 priests.

Ginder affair Rev. Richard Ginder (deceased) worked as a diocesan censor and writer. accused of abuse. Died in accident in 1984.

  1. Ginder trial I Received 10 years probation in 1969 for child porn but not removed from active duty until 1976.
  2. Ginder trial II Convicted of abuse of 2 youths in 1978.
  3. Ginder lawsuit Named in 2004 civil suit. Claims included in Diocese's September 2007 $1.25 million settlement as to 32 plaintiffs alleging abuse by 17 priests.

Hoehl affair Rev. John S. Hoehl, priest and headmaster at Quigley Catholic High School in Baden, was placed on leave in 1986 after previous undisclosed claims became known. Sent for therapy and reassigned. Left active priesthood in 1988. Hoehl had his ties to the priesthood officially severed by the Vatican, issued 16 June 2004. 2002 article says he was children's therapist in West Virginia. Board of Counselors investigated allegations and found them credible. He agreed to surrender his license as of March 2007. Claims included in Diocese's September 2007 $1.25 million settlement as to 32 plaintiffs alleging abuse by 17 priests.

  1. Hoehl lawsuit 2003 Hoehl faced his first lawsuit accusing him of sexual abuse in 2001. Seven men, including three brothers decades earlier, filed a lawsuit 30 June 2004.
  2. Hoehl lawsuit 2004 7-8 men filed civil suits 2003-04 alleging abuse by Hoehl in early 1980s.

Huff case Rev. Edward G. Huff, ordained 1973. In 1992 two families in 2 days complained to Diocese that Huff had molested their sons. After treatment Huff was made a hospital chaplain in late 1992. Within two months several more families complained of abuse from 1987-91. He was sent back to treatment and resigned from priesthood 7 weeks later.

  1. Huff trial Huff pleaded guilty in 1994 to charges of improperly touching and providing alcohol to several youths. Sentenced to 15 months to 5 years in prison as result of plea bargain. Other charges dropped.

Karabin affair Rev. Joseph D. Karabin, ordained 1974, was placed on leave in 1985 following an allegation of abuse and then reassigned to non-parish ministries. Formally withdrew from ministry 2002. Accused in April 2004 suit of molesting one youth in 1983 and 1984. Accused by 2 others in September 2004 suit. Claims included in Diocese's September 2007 $1.25 million settlement as to 32 plaintiffs alleging abuse by 17 priests.

Krawczyk affairs Rev. Henry R. Krawczyk (1953-), ordained 1978, was reprimanded for providing alcohol and marijuana to minors and for making a sexual advance on an 18-year-old young man, 1986. He was reprimanded for giving beer to a minor, 1992. Diocese found the complaints unsubstantiated but credible. Pittsburgh Bishop Donald Wuerl allowed Krawczyk to continue work as a priest after the allegations against him, twice transferring him.

  1. Krawczyk involuntary manslaughter Krawczyk entertained Billy Gaines, a 19-year old football player and five of his friends at a cookout at St. Anne's where Gaines met his death with nearly twice the legal blood alcohol limit for driving, when he fell 25 feet from a catwalk through a suspended ceiling and onto a wooden pew, 17 June 2003. Krawczyk charged with providing alcohol. Pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter September 2006, sentenced to 7 years probation. Civil suit settled January 2006.

Lukasik affair Rev. John Lukasik accused of abuse.

  1. Lukasik lawsuit One man filed a civil suit in January 2005 which alleged Lukasik gave him alcohol and fondled him at St. Mary Czestochowa Church in McKeesport when he was 11, early-mid 1960s.

McCashin affair Rev. William J. McCashin (d. 1967) accused of abuse. Sued 2004.

  1. McCashin lawsuit 2004 Civil suit filed by one man who alleged that he was molested as an 8 year-old by McCashin at St. Philip Parish in Crafton in 1965. Plaintiff came forward to Diocese in 2002. Claims included in Diocese's September 2007 $1.25 million settlement as to 32 plaintiffs alleging abuse by 17 priests.

Mravintz affair Marianist Ralph Mravintz (d. 2006), a brother and teacher at a Catholic high school, was accused of molesting a male student from October 1984-February 1985 by hugging him, saying I Love You and fondling the youth who had sought help with studies.

  1. Mravintz trial Mravintz faced charges of indecent assault and corrupting a minor but was not removed from his classroom. He pleaded no contest to disorderly conduct charge because boy did not want to testify. Diocese denied responsibility because Mravintz was a member of a religious order.

O'Connell affair Rev. Lawrence O'Connell (d.1986 ) who had been named in previous suits by other alleged victims, was named in a lawsuit charging sexual abuse, 30 June 2004.

  1. O'Connell lawsuits Woman filed suit 4/04 alleging that she was molested for 3 years by O'Connell (from ages 12-15). Three more women filed suits later in 2004. Claims included in Diocese's September 2007 $1.25 million settlement as to 32 plaintiffs alleging abuse by 17 priests.

Parme affair Rev. George J. Parme (1924-2002), ordained 1948, Parme retired in 1989.

  1. Parme lawsuit One man filed suit against diocese and bishop in 2004 alleging abuse by Parme. No date is given for alleged abuse. Claims included in Diocese's September 2007 $1.25 million settlement as to 32 plaintiffs alleging abuse by 17 priests.

Pucci affair Rev. Francis Pucci (d. 2002) charged in 1988 with one count of indecent assault for fondling youth during summer, 1986 but action barred by statute of limitations and case was nolle prossed in September 1991. He was also charged with conspiracy for allowing Fr. Richard Zula to have sexual activity with a youth at a parish where Pucci was pastor. Banned from public ministry.

Sorensen case Rev. Bartley Sorensen (1967-) of St. John Fisher Church in Churchill who pleaded guilty to possessing and receiving thousands of child porn images on his rectory computer, 23 May 2012.

Smith affair Rev. Edward Smith (d. 1957), who served at Sacred Heart Church in Emsworth, named in a lawsuit charging sexual abuse, 30 June 2004.

  1. Smith lawsuit One woman sued the diocese and both current and former bishops in 2004 alleging that she was abused at age 16 by Smith when she went to him for counseling. Claims included in Diocese's September 2007 $1.25 million settlement as to 32 plaintiffs alleging abuse by 17 priests.

Somma affair Rev. James Somma, ordained 1959, retired as Air Force chaplain in 1984. Remained an active priest until his death in 2002.

  1. Anon accusation I In 1988 woman said she was abused by Somma 25 years earlier. Allegation judged "not credible" by the diocese and court later dismissed case due to statute of limitations.
  2. Anon accusation II Second allegation received in 2002. Civil suit filed by 1 man 2004. Claims included in Diocese's September 2007 $1.25 million settlement as to 32 plaintiffs alleging abuse by 17 priests.

Sorensen case Rev. Bartl Sorensen was arrested on child pornography charges was allegedly traveling overseas to Amsterdam several times, an area notorious for its sex industry.

 This information, along with thousands of new images found in Sorensen’s bedroom has investigators concerned he may have had sexual contact with children. Investigators looked through thousands of pornographic images found following a search of the rectory at St. John Fisher Church.

 Numerous photo albums depicting local boys at Catholic Church functions including picnics and swim parties were found. Reported 14 December 2011.

Suran affair Rev. Andrew J. Suran (d. 1971) who had been named in previous suits by other alleged victims, was named in a lawsuit charging sexual abuse, 30 June 2004.

  1. Suran lawsuit I One woman filed suit in 2004 alleging that she was fondled by Suran as an 8 year-old. Woman says that 14 years later she took a teaching job where Suran was assigned and he fondled and kissed her again. # Suran lawsuit II 2nd woman filed suit June 2004 alleging abuse when she was 6. Claims included in Diocese's September 2007 $1.25 million settlement as to 32 plaintiffs alleging abuse by 17 priests.

Tisak case Rev. Daniel J. Tisak, Byzantine, ordained 1982, vanishes 1990.

  1. Tisak trial Criminal charges filed in 1988 allege Tisak abused 12 year-old at Pennsylvania YMCA. Tisak pleaded guilty. Sentenced to 2 years probation and 6 months at St. Luke's.

Veri affair Nun Alberta Veri (Sister Bernadine), of the Sisters of Saint Joseph, accused in a 1997 lawsuit of sexually abusing a high school senior in 1972. Veri denies the charge. Complainant states that when she first came forward in 1994, the order and diocese asked her to keep silent. They deny this. Suit was dismissed on statutes of limitations grounds. Order offered to settle in exchange for a confidentiality agreement; complainant refused. Order paid for therapy. She took a leave of absence in 1980 and left the order some time thereafter.

Wellinger affair Rev. John W. Wellinger, ordained 1970, pastor at Holy Spirit parish in West Mifflin, was accused by parents of molesting their son, kissing, fondling and performing a sex act on the 11-year-old altar boy in 1989, 1995. They said diocesan officials told them he would be removed from ministry but he continued in the priesthood for up to seven more years. The diocese, for its part, insists Wellinger has not functioned as a priest since the 1995 accusation. Wellinger took a personal leave June 1995. Three months later a young man came forward to allege that Wellinger had abused him in 1989. Diocese banned Wellinger from active priesthood March 2003 when he failed to return from leave (for health purposes).

  1. Wellinger lawsuit Suit filed 2004. Claims included in Diocese's September 2007 $1.25 million settlement as to 32 plaintiffs alleging abuse by 17 priests.
  2. Ference accusation Former Catholic priest John Wellinger possibly having sexually abused the boy who shot Adam Ference on a Catholic school bus, then killed himself.
  3. Mathews accusation Wellinger was reported to the Pittsburgh Diocese in 1995 for sexually abusing Chris Mathews, an 11-year-old altar boy at Holy Spirit Church in West Mifflin. “The boy’s parents first met with current Pittsburgh Diocese Bishop Zubik to voice their concerns, but little was done. It was not until 2003 that the Pittsburgh Catholic (official publication of the Pittsburgh Diocese) acknowledged that a sexual abuse crime "may have been committed.” By then, as with so many of these cases, the statute of limitations had expired for prosecuting the crime.
  4. Witkowski accusation , Greg Witkowski, a 16-year-old boy from West Mifflin, PA, whose family were members of Holy Spirit, Welllinger’s parish assignment, was fed drugs and alcohol by Wellinger, possibly even assaulted. The Witkowski was able to break away from Wellinger and made his way to Shadyside Hospital emergency room (now part of UPMC). He was treated by the staff; his parents Robert and Ann Witkowski were summoned and advised of the criminal acts by Wellinger. The parents were advised not to call police and press charges, or challenge the Pittsburgh Diocese as the church had too much money and was much too powerful.

Wichmanowski affair Rev. Joseph Wichmanowski (d. 1977).

  1. Wichmanowski lawsuit One woman filed suit 2004 claiming that Wichmanowski molested her for a year, beginning when she was 12. He would give her wine and would have sex with her several times a week. Claims included in Diocese's September 2007 $1.25 million settlement as to 32 plaintiffs alleging abuse by 17 priests.

Wilt affair Rev. George Wilt (1932-), ordained 1959, was accused of fondling a 13-year-old girl whom he was supposed to be counseling in 1961, had his ministry restricted in 2003 for reasons that the diocese says had nothing to do with child sexual abuse. He retired after 35 years at St. Bernard Church in Mt. Lebanon in May 2003. Complaint filed 30 June 2004. Claims included in Diocese's September 2007 $1.25 million settlement as to 32 plaintiffs alleging abuse by 17 priests.

Wolk case Rev. Robert G. Wolk was placed on leave in 1987 and indicted in 1988. He is suspected of abuse in Pennsylvania, Florida and Canada. He was voluntarily laicized in 2003. Diocese also admitted settling a civil suit out of court. On Sex Offender Registry in FL January 2010.

  1. Wolk trial convicted for abuse of a boy 1987, sentenced to jail (2 concurrent 5-10 yrs sentences.).
  2. Wolk, Francis Pucci and Richard Zula Accused of abuse of two brothers in the 1980s.
    1. Wolk began abusing both boys when they were 12.

Zula case Rev. Richard Zula (Sade) was placed on permanent leave in 1987, accused of abuse of boy, convicted 1990 Banned from ministry.

  1. Zula trial Zula originally indicted on 138 counts of sexual abuse. He pled guilty to two counts involving two brothers and in 1990 was sentenced to 2-5 yrs in prison. Sentence to run concurrently with one in another county imposed for 1-5 yrs. Francis Pucci and Robert Wolk accused of abuse of the same boys.
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