Former Priest Can No Longer Work As Counselor

By Andy Sheehan
March 30, 2007

(KDKA) Pittsburgh — He was a Catholic priest defrocked by the Diocese of Pittsburgh after allegations surfaced that he had molested school kids.

However, Jack Hoehl continued to work with young people as a counselor in West Virginia.

That didn't sit well with some who say he victimized them.

They're all grown men now but they say the psychological and emotional scars remain.

For six of Father Hoehl's former students, the situation has been untenable.

How could a former priest who was defrocked over allegations of sexually abusing school kids continue on as a counselor of young people?

Now, the West Virginia board that licenses counselors just put a stop to it.

"It was huge… absolutely unbelievable," said Paul Dorsch of Cranberry.

For Dorsch and four other former students of Quigley High School it's been a long hard climb but he says justice has come from West Virginia in knowing that former priest Jack Hoehl has had to surrender his counseling license.

"The support we've all had for each other -- Jim, Dennis, myself, Mike, Ed. A lot of guys depended on each other to get through this and this brings some closure to this," said Dorsch.

It was closure after decades of struggle.

In the early 1980s, Hoehl had been headmaster at Quigley in Beaver County where he took a particular interest in the school's wrestling team.

At sleepover parties at the rectory, Dorsch says Hoehl allowed team members to drink and smoke pot and then sexually molested them in their beds.

The wounds may have been inflicted more than 20 years ago but Dorsch says the emotional and psychological scars remain.

"Troubled every one of us to a person, trouble with our marriages, trouble with alcohol and drug abuse, attempted suicides… the depression factor continues," said Dorsch.

After KDKA Investigator Andy Sheehan first interviewed Dorsch, Jim Rowen and Dennis McKeon, KDKA found Hoehl practicing as a psychological counselor in Weirton, West Virginia.

He specialized in counseling adolescent youth.

Hoehl declined to answer any questions about Paul Dorsch and the others.

But a KDKA viewer in West Virginia, who saw the reports, filed a complaint with the state's Board of Counselors -- the licensing board in West Virginia.

The board investigated Hoehl's past and interviewed each of the former Quigley students.

The board found their complaints against Hoehl to be credible, and just this month, Hoehl signed a consent order agreeing to surrender his license.

Dorsch, who had unsuccessfully sued both Hoehl and the diocese, said the West Virginia board's action was a great victory.

"I was actually tearfully elated when I heard this actually came through," said Dorsch. "It was a real piece of closure for us that they revoked his license."

Jack Hoehl and his attorney declined an interview request by KDKA.

The attorney had no comment.


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