Sewickley Priest on Leave Pending Probe into Computer Use

By Ann Rodgers
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
May 31, 2012

The Rev. Daniel Valentine

A Catholic priest known for interfaith work is on a voluntary leave of absence while the Diocese of Pittsburgh and the Allegheny County district attorney decide whether his Facebook posts or other computer use amount to sexual abuse of a minor.

The Rev. Daniel Valentine, 63, pastor of St. James parish in Sewickley, took personal leave on May 19 on the advice of diocesan officials, said the Rev. Ronald Lengwin, spokesman for the diocese. While on leave, he is not permitted to wear clerical garb or exercise public ministry.

Father Lengwin would not describe the posts. The diocese hasn't decided if they cross the line into behavior prohibited by the church's child protection charter, he said.

"I don't think we've made a determination what this is," Father Lengwin said.

In late April, he said, a family came to the diocese "and expressed deep concern about a posting on Facebook to one of their minor children. Having heard it, we determined that it should be turned over to the district attorney's office."

The district attorney's office reported "that although it wasn't criminal in any way, it was at least poor judgment and recommended that we do an audit of the computers in the rectory," he said.

The diocese requested a forensic audit from the district attorney's office, which is under way, Father Lengwin said.

Mike Manko, spokesman for the district attorney's office, would say nothing about the post or the audit.

"All I can confirm is that we received a referral from the diocese and we are looking into it," he said.

John Bunce, a Leet businessman who attends daily Mass at St. James, said he has faith in his priest, but commended the bishop for taking the matter seriously.

Father Valentine was ordained in 1974. He served at St. Rosalia Church in Greenfield, St. Bartholomew, Penn Hills, and St. Sylvester, Brentwood, before becoming a Navy chaplain from 1982-86. His longest pastorate was at Holy Spirit, West Mifflin, from 1991-2006. He has been at St. James since 2006.








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