Former altar boys sue Pittsburgh Catholic Diocese over alleged sexual abuse

By Nick Matoney
November 19, 2019

[with video]

Two men who were formerly altar boys at St. Alphonsus Catholic Church in McDonald, filed a 28-page lawsuit on Tuesday, alleging sexual abuse by a priest at the church in the 1980s.

Named as defendants in the lawsuit are the Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh, current bishop David Zubik and St. Alphonsus Catholic Church.

An attorney for the men writes the abuse began in the early 80s, with his clients joining St. Alphonsus Catholic School when they were 11 and 13 years old. Both soon became altar boys.

Both claims they were abused by Rev. Francis Pucci, who, according to the lawsuit, was ordained in May 1957 and transferred 13 times in his 30-year career.

Pucci retired in 1992 and died in 2002.

The lawsuit alleges the boy who was 11 when he joined the school was groomed by Rev. Pucci, who allegedly used information about the boy’s desire for a girlfriend to make him feel closer to the priest.

The boy who was 13 when he joined the school said the sexual abuse by Rev. Pucci included molestation on trips outside the church.

Rev. Pucci was named in the Pennsylvania grand jury report that came out in August 2018 that named 300 members of clergy in the state who were connected to or involved in sex crimes.

According to the attorney for the plaintiffs, the report established

a long history and pattern of child sex abuse by catholic clergy, include Rev. Pucci, as well as the practice of hiding and protecting priests who were accused or suspected.

The plaintiffs in the case are demanding a jury trial.

A spokesperson for the Pittsburgh Catholic Diocese responded to Pittsburgh's Action News 4's request for a comment on Wednesday, writing, "As of this morning, the diocese has not been served this lawsuit. We are unable to comment on active litigation."



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