Priest, Dead Nun Accused of Sexual Abuse

By Blake Morlock
Tucson Citizen
November 22, 2003

A sexual misconduct review panel found the accusations to be credible. Law enforcement earlier informed of the alleged incidents.


A priest and a dead nun are accused of "credible" allegations of sexual abuse, the Diocese of Tucson Sexual Misconduct Review Board has announced.

It's more bad news for the Catholic diocese, which in 2002 settled 11 lawsuits alleging sex abuse and faces numerous new lawsuits alleging the diocese covered up such complaints in previous decades.

But the announcement shows that the system the diocese is using to police itself is working, said Fred Allison, spokesman for the diocese.

* The Rev. George Pirrung, who served at Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament Parish in Miami, Ariz., Sacred Heart Parish in Nogales and Immaculate Conception Parish in Douglas, is living in the Phoenix area, the diocese said. The priest is not active in the Tucson diocese.

* Sister Rosaria Riter, who ministered at Sacred Heart Parish in Tucson, died in 1996, according to the Benedictine Sisters, the religious order in which she was a member. She is the first woman to be named by the review board in a sex abuse case.

Allegations again Pirrung involve sexual misconduct with minors during the time he worked at Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament Parish in Miami in 1954 and 1955.

Accusations against Sister Riter date to when she was on the faculty of Sacred Heart School from 1949-1953. The school closed in 1975.

A diocese sexual misconduct review panel, established in the wake of the settlements, found accusations in both cases to be credible.

Allison could not say last night how the allegations were determined to be credible.

The diocese reported both incidents to law enforcement earlier this year.

Including yesterday's announcement, since June 2002, the diocese has made public the names of 25 priests, one deacon and one nun who have had allegations of sexual misconduct brought again them.


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