Priest Who Was under Investigation Dies

By Jason Cato
Pittsburgh Tribune Review
December 14, 2005

The former pastor of Holy Redeemer Parish in Ellwood City, who resigned earlier this year under "serious allegations of impropriety," has died.

The Rev.

Mauro Cautela, 57, collapsed Saturday while Christmas shopping with his mother and was taken to Ohio Valley General Hospital in Kennedy, where he died of an apparent heart attack, said the Rev. Ronald Lengwin, spokesman for the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh.

Bishop Donald W. Wuerl will preside over a 10 a.m. Mass Thursday at St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Coraopolis, Cautela's home parish.

In August, Cautela was placed on administrative leave, but Lengwin would not elaborate, except to say it was related to "improprieties with his role as pastor."

Cautela was ordained May 4, 1974, and became pastor of Holy Redeemer in 1992. His resignation was announced Aug. 26, and he was prohibited from performing public sacraments pending the outcome of an investigation. Lawrence County District Attorney Matthew Mangino and state police in New Castle were investigating the allegations against Cautela.

Trooper Janice Wilson, who headed the investigation, said she met with the FBI and representatives from the U.S. Attorney's Office about the case Friday afternoon and that charges against Cautela were "imminent." Wilson would not say what charges Cautela faced, but said federal officials were involved because "some of the things that happened were out of state."

Cautela's troubles involved improprieties with parish money, authorities said.

Detective Wayne Disque of the Lawrence County District Attorney's Office would not say why Cautela was being investigated but said he spoke with diocese officials on Monday.

"They're going to make sure the books balance, and they won't know that for a couple of months," Disque said.

Cautela's death ended the investigation.


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