Priest accused of molesting 8-year-old boy at Plum church in 1998

WTAE - Action News 4 [Pittsburgh PA]

June 23, 2021

By Paul Van Osdol

A Catholic priest in the Pittsburgh Diocese is facing criminal charges for allegedly molesting an 8-year-old boy at a Plum church in 1998.

According to a criminal complaint, the victim was just 8 when Rev. Robert Cedolia assaulted him at Our Lady of Joy.Advertisement

The victim told police the first incident occurred when he was training for first communion. The second incident happened two weeks later.

During the second alleged assault, the victim said Cedolia told him, “God sees all.”

“Just those words are so eerie to hear not only as a survivor myself but these are the methods predator priests will use,” said Michael McDonnell, spokesman for Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

Defense attorney Lisa Mantella said Cedolia “vehemently denies the accusations and he is completely innocent of the charges.”

A Pittsburgh diocese spokesperson said the diocese placed Cedolia on administrative leave after first getting word of the allegations two years ago. By that time he had moved from Our Lady of Joy and was administrator of multiple parishes in the Mon Valley.

The diocese said it forwarded the allegations to the District Attorney’s Office. The diocese said this is the only allegation of child sex abuse against Cedolia during his 41 years in ministry.

“No one knew more about the abuses and no one has done less about the abuses than the dioceses in Pennsylvania,” McDonnell said.

In May, a district judge held Cedolia for trial on all charges. Those charges include aggravated indecent assault; committing a sexual offense against a minor; and corruption of minors.