Youngstown Diocese Releases Names of 31 Religious Leaders Accused of Abuse
October 29, 2018
Bishop George Murry of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Youngstown held a press conference on Tuesday, releasing a list of priests and clergy members who have been removed due to sexual abuse.
Leaders say they are doing everything they can to help victims of abuse at the hands of clergy who, at one time or another, served in the local diocese.
Since 1943, there have been 31 out of 1,026 priests and religious leaders accused of behaving inappropriately, according to Murry.
Murry said the diocese has received allegations from 76 victims and they've responded to each of them.
Everyone on the list has been investigated and the allegations against them have been proven "credible," Murry said.
"I am very sorry that in a number of situations, the church has failed to protect our young people," he said.
Clergy against whom credible, substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of a minor have been made:
James Fondriest (deceased)
Ernest Formichelli (permanent deacon)
Paul Gubser (deceased)
Robert Hill (deceased)
Thomas Kelly (deceased)
Donald Oser (deceased)
John Ryan (deceased)
Robert Sabatino (deceased)
John Schmidt (deceased)
Francis Zapitelli (deceased)
Clergy against whom credible allegations of sexual abuse of a minor have been made after the accused was deceased:
John P. Cunningham
Clergy from Religious Orders against whom credible, substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of a minor have been made while serving in the Diocese of Youngstown:
Gerald Dupont, OP
Donald Marrokal, CR (deceased)
Giles Nealen, OSB (deceased)
Clergy from other dioceses against whom credible, substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of a minor have been made and who have subsequently resided in the territory of the Diocese of Youngstown:
Robert Castelucci (Diocese of Pittsburgh)
Anthony Cipola (Diocese of Pittsburgh, deceased)
Non-clergy from Religious Orders against whom credible, substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of a minor have been made while employed in the Diocese of Youngstown:
Stephen Baker, TOR (deceased)
Murry called it a sad day for the diocese, saying he's personally embarrassed that this ever happened in the first place.
He said trust in priests is extremely important and when something like this happens, trust is shattered and has to be rebuilt.
At the press conference, Murry was critical of his colleagues around the country who he says helped cover-up the actions of priests or deacons. He says those bishops kept the abuse from coming to light and prevented victims from getting help, adding that they should either resign or be removed from office.
"I'm concerned that some church authorities do not realize how serious this matter is and how much damage is done to a child through sexual abuse," he said.
Murry said the purpose of putting this list out is for the victims, so they know they've been heard and responded to. He encouraged any other victims who haven't spoken up to come forward and report abuse.
"We're putting this list out to clear the decks, be up front and to be completely open and honest," Murry said.
Victims can call Det. Sgt. Delphine Baldwin-Casey, the victim assistance coordinator for the Diocese of Youngstown, at 330-718-1388.
He said the list of accused priests and religious leaders will be updated in real time as victims continue to come forward.
Since the diocese's founding in the early '40s, roughly half a million dollars has been paid to victims in the form of settlements.
In September, Murry said he would release a list of names within the next two months.
Previously, he said the diocese won't stand in the way if any prosecutors in the six-county diocese want to investigate priests who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse. Murry said some accusers don't want to prosecute and some of the cases are past the 20-year statute of limitations.
It all comes on the heels of an August grand jury report in Pennsylvania that named 301 priests in six Catholic dioceses, including 41 in the Erie Diocese, accused of sexual abuse.
Murry expects the scandal will be a key topic when the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops meets next month.