Mccandless Catholic Deacon in Child Sex Sting Gets Probation, Community Service
By Natasha Lindstrom
January 24, 2019
A Roman Catholic deacon from McCandless was sentenced Thursday to two years of probation and 100 hours of community service for convictions related to sending sexually explicit material to an undercover police officer posing online as a teenage boy.
Deacon Rosendo “Ross” Dacal, 74, pleaded guilty in October to felony counts of criminal solicitation of sexual acts via computer files and images and criminal use of a communication facility. Dacal must register as a sex offender for 25 years.
Washington County Common Pleas Judge Gary Gilman sentenced Dacal to two years’ probation for each count, with the sentences to run concurrently. Gilman further ordered Dacal to obtain mental health treatment, court records showed.
Dacal’s attorney, Robert Del Greco Jr., could not immediately be reached.
Following Dacal’s arrest last April on five charges , the Diocese of Pittsburgh placed Dacal on administrative leave. His security clearances at the Allegheny County Jail, where he was a chaplain, were revoked.
Dacal had served the All Saints Parish in Etna since 2011.
“The charges against (Dacal) are disturbing,” Diocese of Pittsburgh Bishop David Zubik said at the time. “We had no previous knowledge of his alleged activities.”
As of Thursday, Dacal remained on leave and cannot function as a deacon, said the Rev. Nicholas Vaskov, spokesman for the diocese.
Next begins a canonical review of Dacal and his convictions led by the Vatican, which could lead to his loss of clergy status in coming months, Vaskov said.
“We addressed this as soon as we learned of the allegations,” Vaskov said. “We take all allegations very seriously.”
North Strabane police Officer Gary Scherer had been monitoring a chat room in December 2017 and posing as a 14-year-old boy when he encountered Dacal, who went on to exchange hundreds of messages, including ones that were “sexually explicit and graphic in nature,” a criminal complaint said.
Dacal also sent sexually explicit videos and solicited naked photographs, the complaint said.
The Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, Homeland Security and the McCandless Police Department assisted in the investigation.
Natasha Lindstrom is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Natasha at 412-380-8514, firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @NewsNatasha.