Federal Magistrate Recommends Dismissing Greensburg Priest Abuse Lawsuit

Associated Press
April 1, 2003

A lawsuit filed last year against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Greensburg alleging a priest molested a high school student more than 20 years ago should be dismissed because it is not timely, a federal magistrate said.

Charles Hartz Jr., 38, who now lives in Holland, Mich., claimed he was sexually assaulted by the Rev. Gregory Premoshis when Hartz was a student at Geibel Catholic High School in 1981 and 1982.

Premoshis was a teacher then, but had since become president of the school in Fayette County before retiring in March - four days after Hartz brought his allegations to the diocese.

U.S. Magistrate Ila Jeanne Sensenich ruled that Pennsylvania law does not allow such suits to be filed more than two years after the alleged acts.

Sensenich's recommendation doesn't mean the case will automatically be dismissed, because a federal judge must review it first.

It would be unusual, however, for a judge to reject Sensenich's recommendation. Hartz's attorney, Helen Kotler, can file objections to it before the judge makes a final ruling.

Hartz was 16 when he met the priest in 1980. During 1981 and 1982, Premoshis took Hartz on trips to Ohio, Virginia and South Carolina where they also had sexual contact, the lawsuit states.

Kotler was hoping Sensenich would allow the lawsuit because some other states have a longer statute of limitations than Pennsylvania. She also argued that Hartz didn't bring the suit sooner because he had repressed his memory of the events.

Carl Eck, the attorney who represents the diocese and Bishop Anthony Bosco, called Sensenich's recommendation "proper, correct" and "comprehensive."

Kotler didn't immediately return a call from The Associated Press on Tuesday.

Premoshis could not immediately be reached, but has repeatedly denied the allegations through his attorneys.

Bosco was not bishop when Premoshis taught Hartz at the school. He barred Premoshis from public ministry for life in July following the recommendations of a five-member board that reviewed Hartz's allegations.


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