Man Sues Pittsburgh Diocese, Alleging Sexual Abuse by Priests Decades Ago
By Natasha Lindstrom
April 16, 2020
A New Hampshire man is suing the Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh based on allegations that three priests sexually assaulted him in the 1960s and early ’70s, court records show.
The lawsuit filed Wednesday in Allegheny County Common Pleas Court further accuses the diocese and co-defendant Bishop David Zubik of “protecting child sexual abusers” by refusing to provide information that could help identify two of the three accused priests.
The diocese did not return a request for comment late Wednesday.
Now 62, the plaintiff claims he faced years of sexual assault inflicted by priests, starting when he was around 7 or 8 years old as a student at St. Colman’s Catholic School in Turtle Creek, the lawsuit states.
Additional incidents of alleged abuse happened when he was 14 and a patient at Woodville State Hospital in Collier, and at age 15 at the former New Castle Youth Development Center in Shenango.
The lawsuit accuses the diocese of refusing to share the names of priests who were assigned to visit Woodville hospital and New Castle youth facility at the time of the alleged abuse.
“This flies in the face of numerous public declarations that the diocese, and indeed, the Roman Catholic Church, is committed to transparency where the issue of predatory priests is concerned,” Richard M. Serbin, attorney for the plaintiff and head of the Sexual Abuse Division of Janet, Janet & Suggs law firm, said in a statement.
The lawsuit identifies only one priest by name: the late Rev. Edward C. Maliszewski, assistant pastor of St. Colman’s Church from 1955 to 1964.
The plaintiff alleges that when he was a student there, he was referred to Maliszewski, the elementary school’s disciplinarian, “after acting out in class.” Maliszewski allegedly took the boy to the rectory, “forced him to drink wine, undressed him and assaulted him, all the while whispering in the child’s ear, ‘This is what God wanted for both of us,’ ” the lawsuit claims.
Maliszewski — who died in 2006 — also is accused of abusing the child at his home until the boy was removed from the school in sixth grade because of “ongoing behavioral problems,” according to the lawsuit.
By age 14, the boy was suffering from mental health issues and was a resident at Woodville State Hospital from 1970 to 1971. While there, he was sexually abused again by an unidentified priest, the lawsuit claims.
Then, at 15, he was assaulted by a third priest in the New Castle youth center’s chapel, the lawsuit alleges.
As a boy, the plaintiff knew the second two priests accused of abusing him only as “Father,” according to the lawsuit.
They are identified in the lawsuit as John Doe One and John Doe Two.
In addition to the diocese and Zubik, the lawsuit cited as defendants the two unidentified priests and former Cardinal Donald Wuerl, who served as bishop of the Pittsburgh diocese from 1988 to 2006.
The lawsuit alleges several counts of fraud, constructive fraud and conspiracy.
Natasha Lindstrom is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Natasha at 412-380-8514, firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter .