2 Lawsuits Filed against Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh As Survivors Fund Announced

December 13, 2018

Two new lawsuits have been filed against the Diocese of Pittsburgh and Bishop David Zubik, alleging they knew about and allowed of priests to sexually assault young boys.

Later Thursday, Zubik announced the formation of the diocese's compensation fund for survivors of clergy abuse.

The first lawsuit claims that Rev. Carl Roemele molested a victim multiple times when he was 13 and 14 years old in the 1970s.

The unnamed victim and his family were members of the St. Agatha parish in Bridgeville when the alleged attacks occurred.

According to a lawsuit filed Wednesday, Roemele had a close relationship with the victim’s parents and would take him to a cabin in Donegal where assaults are alleged to have occurred.

The second names Rev. Richard Lelonis, then at St. Luke’s in Carnegie, as the abusive priest.

According to the lawsuit, Lelonis sexually assaulted a boy between the time he was 8 and 12 years old in the late '60s and early '70s.

The victim was an altar boy when he met Lelonis, according to the lawsuit, and would be invited to shower at the rectory where Lelonis lived. During and after those showers the victim said he was sexually abused by Lelonis.

Meanwhile, officials with the independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program released their plan of action to support the healing of survivors of child sexual abuse by priests.

The independent group that has worked with a dozen other dioceses in New York and Pennsylvania announced they will start accepting claims in January from victims with documented cases and even new victims who have not come forward yet.

Zubik says the money will come from diocese investments and downtown properties.

“Let me be clear: no funds for this program will come from our Campaign for the Church Alive, from Catholic Charities, parishes, schools or any other funds designated for a specific use by donor,” he said.








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