Priest Accused of Molesting Boy Co-Pastor of Risen Lord Parish Arrested on Five Counts

By Bill Heltzel
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
August 27, 1994

A Roman Catholic priest was arrested yesterday and accused of molesting a boy Aug. 2.

The Rev. Richard Dorsch, 49, co-pastor of Risen Lord parish on California Avenue, North Side, was charged with indecent exposure, corrupting the morals of a minor and three counts of indecent assault.

He surrendered to county police about 9:30 a.m. at the parish house.

Lt. Mike Stowell said the incident occurred outside the city, but he would not say where. He also was vague about the victim and the circumstances of the incident.

"Even giving his age would isolate a certain group," Stowell said. "Saying where it occurred could lead to identifying the victim. That would lead to other kids tormenting a child who is already tormented. We don't want to subject him to any further victimization."

Stowell said the boy reported the incident to an adult, who in turn notified the boy's parents and county Children and Youth Services. CYS notified police.

He said police knew of no other victims or incidents and that Dorsch had no criminal record.

Dorsch was arraigned yesterday before District Justice William Wagner, who ordered him to have no contact with the boy or his family and then released the priest on his own recognizance.

A preliminary hearing will be held Wednesday before Wagner.

Officials of the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh did not know about the case until a television reporter told them shortly before the priest was arraigned, according to the diocesan spokesman, the Rev. Ronald Lengwin.

"We immediately put our policy into practice," Lengwin said. Church officials met with Dorsch after his arraignment and placed him on administrative leave until the matter is resolved.

He will not be allowed to present himself as a priest in good standing, Lengwin said. That means he may not wear clerical dress, celebrate Mass publicly or function in any way as a priest. He may celebrate Mass privately.

He was relieved of his duties at Risen Lord, where he was appointed co- pastor in February. He will not be living at the parish and will be staying with family until he is sent away for a medical and psychological evaluation at an accredited facility somewhere in the United States. Lengwin did not know which facility Dorsch would be sent to.

He will be responsible for paying his own legal fees.

Lengwin said Dorsch was "well respected and much loved."

Dorsch was ordained in 1970. He served as an assistant pastor at St. Basil in Carrick, St. Philip in Crafton, All Saints in Etna and St. Michael in Butler. In 1985, he was appointed pastor of St. Francis De Sale in McKees Rocks and in 1991 at St. Colman in Turtle Creek.

Lengwin said church officials tried to contact the boy's family but learned that they were not home this weekend. He said the church would offer support.


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