Retired Pittsburgh Area Priest on Trial for Sexual Assault of 11-year-old Boy in 2001
By Bob Mayo
November 6, 2019
On the first day of the child sex assault trial of retired priest Hugh Lang, his now 30-year-old alleged victim who traveled from southeast Asia testified to how he alleges Lang abused him when he was an 11-year-old boy.
The alleged victim testified for nearly 1 1/2 hours for the prosecution about the alleged sex assault in the basement of St. Therese parish church in Munhall in 2001.
He told Judge Mark Tranquilli in the non-jury trial that at an altar servers summer camp at the church, Lang led him to the church basement, ordered him to undress, took a photo of him naked, and performed sex acts on him.
The alleged victim testified that Lang threatened to show the photos to others if he told.
The courtroom was packed with about 40 observers, including several priests. Also present was a victim's advocate who says the alleged victim contacted him after the Pennsylvania grand jury report about cases of sex abuse by priests.
"He was a mess. He was ashamed. He felt like he'd be blamed. He didn't want anyone to know who he was. He's still in that position but i have watched him become stronger and through education and a little bit of understanding of what took place, he now realizes that this wasn't his fault," James VanSickle, of the Courage2Heal, told Pittsburgh's Action News 4.
The defense began cross-examining the alleged victim late Monday afternoon. The initial questions from Lang's defense attorney, J. Kerrington Lewis, focused on when the witness contacted authorities and what he told them.
During brief opening statements, Lewis told the judge he will present witnesses and evidence to show that the alleged victim's claims are "absolutely false" and that the alleged victim is dishonest and unreliable. Lewis also noted a civil suit for $1 million has been filed in the case. The defense attorney alleged that the alleged victim has "a motive other than the truth."