By Peter Smith / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
The leader of a Roman Catholic religious order has written a letter of apology to victims of sexual abuse and to Catholics in the Diocese of Pittsburgh in the wake of allegations that eight of its brothers sexually abused minors while assigned to North Catholic High School since the 1940s.
“These reports have caused us much shame and deep remorse,” said the May 27 letter written by the Rev. Martin A. Solma, the provincial, or supervisor, of the Marianist Province of the USA, based in St. Louis.
The accusations began with news in March that a criminal trial was set against a Marianist brother, Bernard Hartman, in Australia for alleged sexual abuse that occurred while he was assigned there.
The diocese sent a letter to alumni of North Catholic, where Brother Hartman also worked, alerting them to the charges and urging any victims to come forward. That and a second letter led to an allegation of sexual abuse against Brother Hartman during his time at North Catholic and allegations against seven others brothers who worked at North Catholic, most of them now deceased, since the 1940s.
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