Former Altar Boy Outlines Alleged Sex Assault

By Chris Foreman
Connellsville Daily Courier [Greensburg PA]
November 10, 2005

A former altar boy at Blessed Sacrament Cathedral in Greensburg has written a letter to about 2,000 parishioners outlining accusations that a priest repeatedly raped him in the 1970s and urging a change in the state's statute of limitations for sexual abuse of minors.

The letter was written by Brian G. Guarino, of Laurel, Md., who filed a civil lawsuit this year in Westmoreland County against the Catholic Diocese of Greensburg and retired Bishop Anthony G. Bosco.

In his lawsuit, the 42-year-old former Greensburg resident alleges the Rev. Roger J. Trott raped him while he was an altar boy at the North Main Street church from 1973-76. The case is pending.

"I was so ashamed and devastated, but moreso because I couldn't come forward since I thought God was doing this to me," Guarino wrote in the letter, which was mailed Tuesday to parishioners. "The experience so traumatized me I blocked the whole thing out of my mind for years."

The contents of the letter were shared Wednesday with the Tribune-Review in an e-mail from the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, known as SNAP. The Chicago-based advocacy group assists people who have allegedly suffered sexual abuse by religious authority figures.

The nonprofit organization is active in lobbying state legislatures for an increase in the statute of limitations in civil and criminal cases alleging sexual abuse of children.

Monsignor Roger A. Statnick, pastor of Blessed Sacrament, referred a reporter yesterday to Monsignor Lawrence T. Persico, who is vicar general for the diocese. Persico's office referred the reporter to spokesman Jerry Zufelt, who did not return a phone message.

Trott pleaded guilty to corruption of minors after he was accused of having sexual contact with altar boys between June 1986 and June 1987 while pastor of St. John Baptist de la Salle Church in Delmont. He was sentenced to probation and a residential treatment program at St. Luke's Institute in Suitland, Md.

Trott moved to New York after he completed the treatment program. Attempts to contact him last night were unsuccessful.

SNAP officials held a rally Oct. 19 at the Capitol in Harrisburg to press for stronger state laws after a grand jury in Philadelphia concluded the nation's longest investigation into alleged abuse by priests.

A 418-page grand jury report in September found that leaders of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia actively concealed sexual abuse for decades, but no criminal charges could be filed against the church or its priests because of the constraints of state law, according to The Associated Press.

Pennsylvania legislators passed an amendment in 2002 giving alleged victims until their 30th birthday to file sexual abuse allegations in civil court. Previously, the statute of limitations expired after an alleged victim's 18th birthday.