The bishop of Pittsburgh’s Roman Catholic diocese said a few priests named in a soon-to-be-released grand jury report on clergy sex abuse are still in ministry because the diocese determined allegations against them were unsubstantiated.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that Bishop David Zubik reiterated to reporters Friday that “there is no priest or deacon in an assignment today against whom there was a substantiated allegation of child sexual abuse.”
The Diocese of Harrisburg, in releasing a list of 71 names of clergy on Aug. 1, and an additional priest’s name Aug. 6, said no one on the list is currently in the ministry. Bishop Ronald W. Gainer said the dioceses was making public the names of all those who faced allegations of child sex abuse but that it did not determine whether they all had merit, though some on the list have been convicted of crimes.
The diocese lists 43 of the accused as dead, 25 alive and four “unknown.” Of the 72, 23, or 32 percent, had served in parishes in the greater Shamokin-Mount Carmel-Elysburg area.
Harrisburg joined Erie in releasing a list in advance of a grand jury report on child sexual abuse in the Catholic church. Erie’s list was made public in April.
The state Supreme Court disclosed recently that a grand jury had identified more than 300 “predator priests” in the six dioceses that were investigated: Allentown, Erie, Greensburg, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh and Scranton. Together, those dioceses minister to more than 1.7 million Catholics.
Previous investigations found widespread sexual abuse by priests in the state’s two other dioceses: Philadelphia and Altoona-Johnstown.
The release of the nearly 900-page report has been held up by challenges by some priests and former priests, but a court has now ordered that the report be issued no later than Tuesday.
In Pittsburgh, Zubik said after the report’s release he would meet with parishioners whose priests may have been named in it to explain why the diocese’s own review did not substantiate any allegations.
Zubik, who has been bishop for 11 years, earlier vowed to release the names of any members of his clergy named in the report, which he called “a sad and tragic description of events that occurred within the church.”