Lawsuit Filed against Pittsburgh Diocese after Man's Suicide

By Margaret Harding
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
July 28, 2010

A Downtown law firm today filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh after a man who accused a priest of sexually abusing him as a child committed suicide.

The suit accuses Bishop David Zubik and the diocese of negligence because the diocese withdrew financial support for the treatment of Michael Unglo, 39, formerly of Etna, a few months before he killed himself at a Massachusetts treatment center in May.

The firm Swensen, Perer and Kontos filed the suit in Allegheny County Common Pleas Court on behalf of Unglo's brother, Samuel Unglo.

Messages left with the diocese were not immediately returned.

According to the suit:

Unglo, who grew up in Etna and was living in Massachusetts when he killed himself, attended All Saints Church and was sexually abused by Richard Dorsch, a priest at the church, from 1982 to 1985. The abuse began when Unglo was 10 years old.

Dorsch was arrested in 1994 for molesting a boy in North Park. He was banned from the ministry and sentenced to jail.

Unglo attempted suicide in June 2008, a result of the effects of the sexual abuse. In July 2008 the diocese began paying for Unglo's counseling and treatment.

Zubik met with Samuel Unglo and another brother, Paul Unglo, in December 2008 and promised to "right the wrong" done to Michael Unglo.

The diocese then began paying for Michael Unglo's hospital and outpatient treatment. Unglo attempted suicide a second time in June 2009. The diocese continued to pay for treatment until earlier this year and on March 17 forwarded a final payment of $75,000 and indicated that it no longer would pay for services.

In April a psychotherapist at the Austen Riggs Center in Massachusetts, where Unglo was treated, told the diocese that Unglo needed continued treatment for his post-traumatic stress disorder.

Unglo killed himself May 4.


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