Ex-Priest sentenced for sexually assaulting altar boys

United Press International
April 3, 1990

A former Roman Catholic priest Tuesday was sentenced to two concurrent 5- to 10-year sentences for his guilty plea to charges he sexually assaulted two former altar boys during a six-year period.

The Rev. Robert Wolk, 49, was sentenced by Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge George Ross under a plea-bargain agreement, which was worked out between the county district attorney's office and Wolk's attorney, Charles Scarlata.

Under the agreement, Wolk, the former pastor of St. Thomas More Church in Bethel Park, pleaded guilty to two counts of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with minors and two counts of corrupting the morals of a minor. Two other counts of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse and one count of attempted involuntary deviate sexual intercourse were dropped under the agreement.

Wolk was sent to the State Correctional Institution at Pittsburgh for evaluation to determine where he will serve his sentence.

Wolk was stripped of his priestly duties in 1987, two days after Diocese of Pittsburgh officials were notified two brothers had accused Wolk of sexually assaulting them between 1981 and 1987.

The brothers, now 21 and 19, were altar boys at St. Thomas More during the time of the assaults. They previously told the judge they were satisfied with the plea-bargain agreement.

The brothers also told diocesan officials they had engaged in sexual activities with two other priests, the Rev. Richard Zula, 49, and the Rev. Francis Pucci, 59.

Zula served as the youths' pastor at SS. Mary and Ann Church in Marianna, Washington County. He was sentenced to 2 to 5 years in prison on Jan. 4 by Washington County Common Pleas Judge Thomas Gladden.

Zula pleaded guilty to two counts of corruption of minors in a plea-bargain agreement in which 138 other counts were dropped. The sentence is being served concurrently with the 1- to 2-year prison term Zula receivied last year in Somerset County, which resulted from a trip in November 1984 with one of the youths to the Seven Springs Resort.

Wolk and Pucci are awaiting trial in Washington County.


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