Things Get Heated at Hearing for Local Priest Accused of Molestation
By Brenda Waters
February 6, 2019
A local priest accused of molesting a 10-year-old boy will stand trial, but his attorney is raising some objections to the way his client was treated on Wednesday.
Once a priest at Saint Therese Catholic Church in Munhall, Father Hugh Lang is now accused of sexual abuse of a child and indecent assault and exposure.
|Photo Credit: KDKA|
The 88-year-old left his preliminary hearing on Wednesday afternoon after his attorney, Kerry Lewis, told the magistrate judge, Thomas Terkowsky, he objected to the hearing and found his attitude toward him and his client to be disgraceful.
Lewis wanted Terkowsky to recuse himself, and the judge refused.
The 29-year-old accuser, who was 10-years-old at the time of the alleged incident, claims Lang took him away from other boys during alter training, He alleges Lang took him to the basement of the church, had him take off his clothes and took a Polaroid picture and committed a sexual act.
“He is charged with an act that is a pedophile,” Lewis said. “This kind of conduct when he was 72 years old, there’s never been any complaint against him before and there hasn’t been one since. He just didn’t become an abuser, a pedophile, one day in June in 2001.”
The accuser, who now lives in another country, said in court his mother told him about indictments against priests who had abused children and he called the attorney general’s office in August of last year.
“I believe he is innocent and I wouldn’t have been fighting so hard in there if I didn’t believe it,” Lewis said. “I would not be representing him.”
Meantime, that fight almost came to a head at Lang’s preliminary hearing when Lewis told Terkowsky he was not allowing him to properly cross examine the alleged victim.
“I was frustrated,” Lewis said. “I am going to file a motion to have this hearing overturned and I want another hearing, a fair hearing, and I’ll let the judge of the Common Pleas Court hear the record and see what was going on in there.”
Lewis says his client never ran from the charges, telling the church immediately.
“He went to the Bishop and told him the investigation was on as soon as he learned about it.”
Lang is no longer permitted to officiate mass in the Catholic Church.