Ex-priest Fired on Accusations of Sexual Abuse Had Been Working As Community Counseling Therapist

By Shelley Terry
Meadville Tribune
October 10, 2018

A former priest, who became a licensed social worker, lost his job last month at Community Counseling Center after a Pittsburgh TV station identified him as a former priest listed among accused clerics in a Pennsylvania grand jury report on sexual abuse in the Catholic Church.

William B. Yockey, 66, who served as a priest at several parishes before leaving the priesthood in 1991 in the wake of child sex abuse allegations, later became a licensed social worker in Pennsylvania and Ohio.

On July 10, 2017, he began working at Community Counseling Center, 2801 C Court, where adults and children with mental illness and substance abuse problems are treated.

Fourteen months later, on Sept. 5, Yockey told the administration he was confronted by a television reporter in the agency's parking lot in reference to prior allegations of misconduct while he was a priest in Pennsylvania, according to a release from Community Counseling.

This was the first administrators learned of the allegations.

"We discovered something and we addressed it immediately," Community Counseling CEO Paul Bolino said Tuesday. "We want to make sure everybody is safe at Community Counseling."

Bolino said Yockey was treating only adult patients.

Yockey could not be reached for comment.

"There was no information on his employment application, and no information on his background check that would have brought about any concerns," Bolino said in the release.

Yockey was among 90 current and former Pittsburgh priests alleged to have sexually abused children in the grand jury report. The report reviewed 70 years of how six Catholic dioceses handled the allegations.

According to the grand jury report, the allegations against Yockey date back to the early 1980s when he was based at St. Bernadette Church in Monroeville. The report says Yockey molested two boys at the church rectory.

The grand jury said in 1991, a 25-year-old man reported to the diocese he was molested at age 16 by then-Father Yockey after a night of heavy drinking at Yockey's cabin outside of the city. He said his friend also had been sexually molested by Yockey at age 18.

The report said Yockey admitted the incident and resigned.

More victims came forward in 2009 and 2013, but the grand jury said the diocese did not report any allegations to prosecutors. Consequently, no criminal record showed up when Community Counseling did a background check.

No criminal charges were filed against him and that allowed Yockey to become a licensed social worker.

Last month, Pittsburgh Bishop David Zubik said the diocese would tell potential employers if a priest was removed from ministry because of allegations of abuse, according to the grand jury report.

But in 2006, when the Veterans Administration called for a reference check on Yockey, the diocese did not disclose the Yockey's admission to sexually molesting a minor or of allegations against him, according to the grand jury report.

The diocese told the VA that Yockey "was granted a leave of absence for personal reasons. We have had no contact with him since that time and therefore are not able to provide any information for you," according to the grand jury report.

The report also reveals the diocese paid a total of $24,130 in tuition fees from 2012 to 2017 to help one of Yockey's victim's three children "continue with their Catholic education."

Yockey remains a licensed as a social worker in Ohio and Pennsylvania.








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