Suspended Deacon Gets Probation in Sexting Case in Washington, Pa.
By Barbara Miller
January 29, 2019
Rosendo Francis Dacal, a suspended Catholic deacon in the Diocese of Pittsburgh, will serve two years probation, perform 200 hours of community service and be required to register as a sex offender for 25 years after being sentenced last week by Washington County, Pa. Judge Gary Gilman.
Dacal, 74, pleaded guilty in October to two felonies — criminal solicitation of sexual abuse of children and criminal use of a communication device.
Police arrested Dacal in April 2018 on child pornography charges after North Strabane Township police Officer Gary Scherer had assumed the decoy persona of a 14-year-old boy when he was contacted by someone with the username “chubby boy” in December 2017.
The user, later identified as Dacal, sent sexually explicit messages, sought nude photos of whom he thought was the 14-year-old and exposed himself during video sessions over the course of several months.
As a youth, Dacal left Cuba after the Communist revolution and lived in a refugee camp stateside, eventually earning postgraduate degrees in business and law. As a Catholic deacon, he volunteered as a chaplain at the Allegheny County Jail.
As part of his sentence, Gilman also ordered that Dacal have no access to a computer or smartphone.
The Rev. Nick Vaskov, spokesman for the diocese, reached after court had been adjourned, said Dacal remains on administrative leave, which means he cannot function as a deacon.
Under church law, the next step will be to review Dacal’s status by a canonical process which would ultimately be decided at the Vatican. Removal of a deacon is known as “laicization,” or reduction to the status of a lay person.