Judge denies motion to dismiss Hancock County lawsuit over priest abuse allegations


August 6, 2020

By Joselyn King

New Cumberland – A request by the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston to dismiss a lawsuit alleging sexual assault by the Rev. Victor Frobas has been denied in Hancock County Circuit Court.

The order issued July 31 by Circuit Judge David Sims pertains to a complaint filed May 15 in Hancock County Circuit Court by Michael Pirraglia of Fairfax, Va. The complaint alleges Pirraglia was sexually assaulted over a three-year period by Frobas as a child while attending St. Paul Catholic Church in Weirton.

Frobas was assigned to the diocese from 1965 to 1983, according to court filings. The complaint seeks compensation from the diocese as the employer of Frobas, and alleges the diocese was aware of Frobas’ misconduct.

“The court finds that plaintiff has sufficiently set forth several causes of action against defendant in a manner that permits plaintiff to maintain his cause of action under West Virginia statutory and common law,” Sims states in his order. “There has been little formal discovery undertaken in this matter, and the claims raised by plaintiff and defenses raised by defendants may be more fully developed during discovery.”

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