New lawsuit filed against Diocese of Pittsburgh accuses two priests of sex assault

August 19, 2019

[with video]

A new lawsuit accused two priests of sexual assault has been filed against the Diocese of Pittsburgh and the Holy Family Institute in Emsworth.

The lawsuit was filed by a Pittsburgh man who claimed Father Joseph Girdis and Father Larry Smith sexually assaulted him multiple times in the 1970s when he was 12-years-old. The victim was living at the Holy Family Institute at the time of the alleged assault.

Smith retired in 2015 and Girdis died in 2003.

Neither priest was named in the Attorney General's Grand Jury report released last year that exposed hundreds of clergy members accused of sexual assault.

SNAP sent Channel 11 a statement reading in part:

"The lawsuit filed today alleges that Fr. Joseph Girdis and Fr. Larry Smith both abused the unnamed plaintiff while he was 12-years-old and living at the Holy Family Institute in Emsworth, PA. Neither Fr. Girdis nor Fr. Smith were named in last year's bombshell grand jury report that examined 6 dioceses, including Pittsburgh, and so we call on Bishop David Zubik and other church officials in Pittsburgh to publicize the details of this case and seek out others who may have seen, suspected, or suffered abuse by either of these two priests."


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