Priests in Armstrong, Indiana, Fayette and Westmoreland counties were instructed today to announce to every parish at every Mass this weekend that a priest in active ministry was removed from his assignment Friday. An allegation was received by the Diocese of Greensburg on Thursday, June 28, against Father James W. Clark, which dates to events five decades ago, prior to his entrance into the seminary and ordination as a priest, while working as a janitor at the former St. James School in Apollo, Pa.
The primary reason for this unilateral announcement among all the parishes in the Diocese of Greensburg is to remind any victim that we stand ready to help them.
The Diocese followed a policy that has existed for more than 15 years: The allegation was reported immediately to ChildLine and to the District Attorneys of Westmoreland and Armstrong counties. Less than 24 hours after receiving the allegation, Father Clark was removed from his assignment as parochial vicar of St. Mary (Nativity), St. John the Evangelist, St. Therese, Little Flower of Jesus, and St. Joseph Parishes, all in Uniontown, Fayette County, and as chaplain of Uniontown Hospital.
This was the first allegation the Diocese has received involving Father Clark.
Parishioners of the Diocese of Greensburg will be told about the allegation and the removal. They will be encouraged to come forward with any information and reminded that the Church will offer counseling to any victim, regardless of where they suffered abuse. Since 2002, more than 15,000 clergy, religious, paid staff and volunteers have been cleared by mandated background checks in the Diocese of Greensburg, and they have all been trained to be aware of the signs of child sexual abuse and how to report it.
If you have any suspicion about the sexual abuse (or any other type of abuse) of a minor child by anyone — please contact PA ChildLine immediately at 1-800-932-0313. If the alleged abuser is functioning in a parish, school or diocesan position as clergy, religious, paid staff or volunteer you are also requested to contact the Bishop’s Delegate for Matters of Sexual Misconduct after you have called the ChildLine number and made the report. The Bishop’s Delegate may be reached at 724-837-0901, Ext. 1221.