Diocese Denies Sexual Abuse Allegations against Late Priest

Charleston Gazette (West Virginia)
March 1, 1994

WHEELING (AP) - The Roman Catholic Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston on Monday denied allegations that a Wheeling priest sexually abused a high school student in 1977.

A Wheeling man identified only as "D.F." filed suit in Ohio County Circuit Court alleging that the Rev. Victor A. Frobas sexually abused him while he was a sophomore at Wheeling Central Catholic High School.

Frobas, who died at a St. Louis nursing home last July of cancer and diabetes, at the time was a school faculty member and chaplain at Mount St. Joseph, a convent, said the Rev. Larry Dorsch, spokesman for the diocese and Bishop Bernard Schmitt.

The priest invited "D.F." to his residence and sexually abused the teen-ager there, the lawsuit alleges. It contends the diocese is liable because Frobas worked for it "in a position of trust and authority."

"All allegations have been denied, although the investigation continues," Dorsch said.

He said he could not discuss specifics of the lawsuit because it is pending. He said Schmitt was "deeply saddened" by the lawsuit.

The diocese has specific policies for reporting and handling claims of sexual abuse by priests and "makes it clear that sexual abuse by members of the clergy is intolerable," Dorsch said.

Patrick Cassidy of Wheeling, the plaintiff's lawyer, did not return a message seeking comment Monday.

Frobas was an associate pastor at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in St. Albans between 1965 and 1966. He left the diocese in 1983, Dorsch said. He was not sure what Frobas did between leaving the diocese and his death.


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