Child Sex Abuse Claim against Priest Called "Credible"

By Ann Rodgers
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
August 10 2010

A review board for the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh has found allegations of child sexual abuse against the Rev. David Dzermejko "credible," and Bishop David Zubik has sent the case to Rome.

Vatican officials will decide if he should have a church trial or if the evidence is strong enough to permanently remove him from ministry without further hearings.

For the time being "it doesn't change his status from what it is now. He is on administrative leave and not involved in any ministry whatsoever," said Robert Lockwood, director of communications for the diocese.

Father Dzermejko, 61, was removed as pastor of Mary, Mother of the Church in Charleroi in June 2009 after a couple told diocesan officials that he had sexually abused their son, now deceased. Diocesan officials gave no details of the allegation, other than to say that it didn't involve the Charleroi parish, where he had served for 18 years.

Soon after that case was publicized, another man told the diocese that Father Dzermejko had molested him in childhood. He testified in June to the review board, a group of mostly lay professionals with expertise in child sex abuse, law and related fields. That group advises the bishop, who makes the final decision about whether to send the case to Rome.

"The accusations have been deemed credible," Mr. Lockwood said.

Under church law, officials in the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith will decide whether the bishop must hold a trial, whether a trial will be held in Rome or whether Father Dzermejko can be permanently removed from ministry without a trial.


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