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  Prosecutors Won't File Charges against W.pa. Priest

Associated Press
August 9, 2002

Prosecutors will not file charges against a priest accused of sexually abusing a student 20 years ago, saying too much time has passed.

Charles Hartz Jr., 38, who now lives in Holland, Mich., claims a priest repeatedly got him drunk and molested him when he was a student at a Roman Catholic high school. He filed a civil lawsuit against the priest, the Rev. Gregory Premoshis, and the Greensburg diocese.

"At this point, we don't feel we could bring criminal charges because it's beyond the appropriate time limits," said Fayette County District Attorney Nancy D. Vernon.

Charges in felony sexual abuse cases must be filed within five years after the alleged victim's 18th birthday.

In his civil lawsuit filed in federal court, Hartz is seeking at least $600,000 from the defendants, including Premoshis. Also named in the suit are the foundation that supports the school and Bishop Anthony Bosco.

Premoshis was removed as president of Geibel Catholic High School near Connellsville and retired in March, four days after Hartz brought his allegations to the diocese.

In July, Bosco barred Premoshis, 64, of Mount Pleasant, from public ministry. Bosco, who wasn't bishop when Hartz attended the school, followed the recommendation of a five-member board that reviewed Hartz' allegations.

Premoshis' attorney, Allan Lundberg, said Premoshis "categorically denies" the allegations.

Hartz was 16 when he met the priest in 1980. During 1981 and 1982, Premoshis took Hartz on trips to Ohio, Virginia and South Carolina where they also had sexual contact, the lawsuit states.

Hartz went to the diocese with his claims in March, nearly two months after Bosco had ordered diocesan priest files reviewed after the national pedophilia scandal was sparked by accusations in the Boston diocese, according to diocesan spokeswoman Angela Burrows.

The diocese has received allegations against eight priests, four of whom have been permanently barred from public ministry.

 
 

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