Greensburg Diocese "Listening Sessions" Starting in Wake of Clergy Sex Abuse Report
By Jacob Tierney
October 19, 2018
Bishop Edward Malesic will visit seven parishes in the Greensburg Diocese starting this week to listen to concerns and questions regarding the wide-ranging accusations of sexual abuse and cover-ups included in a grand jury report released in August.
The diocese created a Safe Environment Advisory Council that will attend the sessions and advise the church on how to best protect children. The council is composed of both Catholics and non-Catholics, including an abuse survivor, a psychologist and a retired state trooper.
“Bishop Malesic knows that the Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report and the events of the past few months have evoked a great deal of pain, sadness, confusion and uncertainty for the faithful of the Diocese of Greensburg,” the diocese said in a statement. “These sessions will give people the opportunity to express their feelings, observations and suggestions.”
All sessions will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. except for the Oct. 31 event at Holy Family parish, which runs from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.
The sessions will be held at the following dates and locations:
• Oct. 22: Blessed Sacrament Cathedral Parish, Greensburg
• Oct. 24: St. Therese, Little Flower of Jesus Parish, Uniontown
• Oct. 29: St. Margaret Mary Parish, Lower Burrell
• Oct. 31: Holy Family Parish, West Newton
• Nov. 5: St. Mary, Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, Kittanning
• Nov. 8: Mother of Sorrows Parish, Murrysville
• Nov. 29: St. Bernard of Clairvaux Parish, Indiana
The roughly 900-page report detailed sexual abuse allegations in six Catholic dioceses around Pennsylvania, including the ones based in Greensburg and Pittsburgh. The grand jury identified 301 “predator priests” who are accused of molesting at least 1,000 victims over a 70-year period.
The section in the report on the Greensburg diocese identified 20 priests.
Other findings regarding the Greensburg diocese included:
• Evidence that diocese administrators, including bishops, permitted priests to continue working after child sexual abuse complaints were filed against them.
• Church officials often used confidentiality agreements in civil settlements that threatened legal action against victims who spoke out publicly about the abuse.
• Diocese administrators, including bishops, “dissuaded victims from reporting abuse to law enforcement.”
• Diocese leaders and bishops failed to properly investigate child sexual abuse claims “in order to avoid scandal and possible civil and criminal liability.”