Lawyers for Priest Accused of Sexual Abuse Deny Charges

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
August 12 2010

The Rev. David Dzermejko, a Catholic priest who is on administrative leave while church charges of child sexual abuse against him are sent to Rome, is being represented by two canon lawyers from the Diocese of Youngstown, Ohio.

"He has vehemently denied the charges from the very beginning," said Monsignor Michael Cariglio.

"It is our opinion that the allegations are not credible."

Allegations against Father Dzermejko surfaced 14 months ago from a widow who said that he had molested her husband in childhood and from a man who came forward after seeing news stories about the first allegations. A diocesan review board told Bishop David Zubik that it found the allegations credible. In accordance with church law, Bishop Zubik has sent the case to Vatican officials, who will decide whether Father Dzermejko must have a church trial or if there is enough evidence to permanently remove him from ministry without one.

Father Dzermejko, 61, was removed as pastor of Mary, Mother of the Church in Charleroi in June 2009.

On Wednesday Father Dzermejko's living accuser issued a statement through the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. The fact that the diocesan board found him believable didn't make him feel better, he said.

"Unfortunately, it is a hollow victory. I feel no joy, no happiness, and no closure. I still feel the same as I did when the memories became unrepressed over a year ago. Shame, violation, emptiness," he wrote.

"I will do my best for the rest of my life to champion for victims and victim's rights."


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