Lawsuit alleges sex abuse by priest in Greensburg diocese in 1990s
By Tony Larussa
June 30, 2020
The Diocese of Greensburg and Bishop Edward Malesic are being sued by a man who claims he was sexually abused by a priest who has since died.
The lawsuit, filed June 22, claims the Rev. Joseph L. Sredzinski began abusing the victim in 1991 when he was 11 years old and continued until the victim was 17.
Sredzinski served at the former St. Joseph Church in Everson, Fayette County, from 1989 to 1999. He died in 2015.
A diocese spokesman declined to comment because he said officials have not yet been served with the lawsuit.
Sredzinski was named in a 2018 Pennsylvania grand jury report, which cited concerns raised about his “inappropriate relationship with multiple local boys.”
The grand jury report notes that the Everson mayor met with diocese officials in 1991 to report an incident in which police found Sredzinski parked with a boy at night in a cemetery as well as other reports of inappropriate relationships the priest had with boys.
The grand jury identified 301 priests accused of sexually assaulting and abusing hundreds of children over the past several decades.
Sredzinski also appears on a list of priests in the Greensburg diocese with “credible and substantiated allegations (of sexual abuse) against them.”
The victim, who is not named in the lawsuit, is 40 years old and now lives in Hawaii.
The lawsuit alleges Sredzinski began “grooming” the victim for sex after the boy became “impoverished and had been abandoned by his father.”
The man alleges Sredzinski raped him in the church rectory and during approximately 30 trips to Washington, D.C., for diocesan- or parish-sponsored events such as pro-life rallies, political events, basketball and bowling competitions and vacations.
Sredzinski and the victim shared a hotel room during the visits to Washington and slept in the same bed, the lawsuit claims.
The lawsuit was filed in Washington because many of the alleged instances of abuse occurred there. Washington Cardinal Donald Wuerl, who was bishop of Pittsburgh between 2006 and 2018, also was named as a defendant.
The victim alleges that “on a few occasions” Wuerl witnessed him being abused by Sredzinski and did nothing to stop it.
The lawsuit claims, when the victim was 13, he tried to report the abuse by leaving two telephone messages with the Greensburg bishop’s office, but the messages never were returned.
The victim is seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.