14 New Child Abuse Cases Filed Against Pittsburgh Catholic Diocese
Newest Post-Grand Jury Cases Bring New Evidence of Church's Concealment of Child Sexual Abuse
PITTSBURGH - Nov. 15, 2018 - PRLog -- Today, Alan Perer filed new lawsuits on behalf of 14 plaintiffs, all of whom as children were sexually abused by priests.
The suits were filed in 12 complaints naming the Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh, Bishop David A. Zubik, and Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl as defendants.
These new cases are the largest number filed at one time since the release of the Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report that showed the Diocese's continuous and fraudulent concealment of critical information regarding child sexual abusers whom it employed as priests, school officials and child counselors.
The Grand Jury report shows that the intentionally concealed reports were made to the Diocese before, during and after the plaintiffs were being sexually abused.
The complaints filed by Perer name seven priests who already publicly appear in the Grand Jury report, along with three new individuals named by victims who have for the first time come forward. There is compelling evidence that the Diocese may also have intentionally concealed knowledge that these three individuals had engaged in sexually abusing children, as it had in so many other cases.
The 12 filed complaints name the following 14 plaintiffs and detail extensive instances of sexual abuse (with case docket numbers)
Trent Brash, who was about 15 years old when sexually assaulted by John Hoehl at Quigley High School, starting about 1979. (GD- 18-014961)
John Chepponis, who was about 8 years old when he was first sexually assaulted by Francis Siler at St Catherine Parish, starting about 1977. (GD- 18- 014963)
David Newman, who was about 8 years old when he was first sexually abused by William O'Malley at St. Canice parish, starting about 1974. (GD- 18- 014957)
Mark Pearce, who was about 12 years old when he was first abused by George Zirwas at St. Michael parish, starting about 1982. (GD- 18- 014959)
James Quigley, who was about 12 years old when he was first abused by George Leech at St Bartholomew parish, starting about 1960. (GD- 18- 014958)
Richard Welsh, who was about 8 years old when first abused by Edward Huff at the parish of North American Martyrs, starting about 1978. (GD- 18- 014959)
Michael Dojcak, who was about 14 years old when first abused by Raymond R. Rhoden at St. Francis of Assisi parish, starting about 1983. (GD- 18- 014960)
Jerry Schwrickrath, who was about 16 years old when first abused by Ernest Paone at Madonna of Jerusalem parish, starting about 1964. (GD- 18- 014965)
Kirk Rice, who was about 10 years old when first abused by John Unger at Sacred Heart Elementary School, starting about 1969. (GD- 18- 014962)
Alan Corso, who was about 15 years old when first abused by Peter Pilarski at Resurrection parish, starting about 1966. (GD- 18- 014969)
John Doe 1, who was about 11 years old when first abused by William O'Malley at St. Francis de Sales parish, starting about 1980. (GD- 18- 014957)
John Doe 2, who was about 15 years old when first abused by Francis Siler at St. Margaret parish, starting about 1980. (GD- 18- 014955)
Marianne Bezjian (nee Kole), who was about 11 years old when first sexually assaulted by Lawrence O'Connell at St. Gabriel parish, starting about 1960. (GD- 18- 014964)
Kristine Marks (nee Kole), who was about 7 years old when first sexually assaulted by Lawrence O'Connell at St. Gabriel parish, starting about 1961. (GD- 18- 0149644
The names of three priests who were not disclosed in the Grand Jury report but are named in the complaints are George Leech, Peter Pilarski and John Unger.
The Pittsburgh Diocese was fully responsible for the placement, employment and maintenance of these priests at every one of these incidents of child sexual abuse.
Because of systematic fraudulent concealment and conspiracy to conceal by the Diocese, the sexual abuse histories of these priests were hidden from the public and from these plaintiffs and their respective families, until the Grand Jury report made the continuing pattern of the fraud public.
Had these facts and this evidence been known, civil suits versus the Diocese could have been pursued within the statute of limitations. The active and on-going concealment of critical evidence provides a basis to extend the statute of limitations in all these cases.
The cases seek expansion of the statute of limitations for past victims of abuse under existing Pennsylvania legal principles and accepted public policy.
Complaints were filed in the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, and the defendants duly notified.
On Tuesday, August 14, 2018, the Attorney General of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania released the Report of the Grand Jury investigating child sexual abuse by priests in six Pennsylvania Catholic Dioceses, including the Pittsburgh Diocese.
Alan Perer is managing partner at SPK-The Law Firm of Swensen & Perer in Pittsburgh, PA. He has represented a large number of victims of sexual abuse by priests. He has over 40 years of experience in civil litigation and representing those who have been seriously injured. Wrongs Righted ®