Pittsburgh Diocese sends out another warning on cleric
As new Pope Francis I calls for a tougher stance in addressing sexual allegations against priests, the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh plans to send its third letter this year warning of accusations against a cleric who once served in Pittsburgh.
“We're looking at that right now,” the Rev. Ronald Lengwin, spokesman of the diocese, said Sunday. “We have an allegation. I can go that far.”
Lengwin would not give details of what the letter will say, except that the victim was a male from a parish, not a school. He would not identify the priest allegedly involved.
“I wouldn't want to say anything until people from the parish receive a letter,” he said.
Mike Ference, 61, of Clairton, a self-described advocate for the victims and families of clergy child abuse, said the letter from Bishop David Zubik will refer to the late Rev. John Wellinger.
Ference said family members of the late victim alerted him of the diocese's intention to send the letter.
“Wellinger's shenanigans were common knowledge,” Ference said.
He said Wellinger served at St. Wendelin and St. George churches in Pittsburgh, St. Athanasius Church in West View, St. James Church in Wilkinsburg, St. Clare Church in Clairton, Holy Spirit Church in West Mifflin and St. Philip Church in Crafton.
Lengwin could not confirm where Wellinger worked.
Wellinger was named in a lawsuit that led to a $1.25 million settlement that the diocese paid to 32 victims of child sex abuse by local clergy. The settlement was reached in 2007. The offense citing Wellinger happened 1989, the suit said.
Pope Francis I urged the Vatican on Friday to move quickly on sex abuse cases and punish priests who harm children.
The diocese sent letters last month to alumni of Serra Catholic High School in McKeesport about Kenneth Ghastin, a Franciscan brother who taught at Serra Catholic from 1983 to 1991. The sexual allegation did not concern his time locally but rather when he was out of state.
In January, the diocese sent letters to parishes about the Rev. Michael Ledoux, a Franciscan friar. Ledoux was pastor of St. Pamphilus in Beechview from 1993 to 1995, headmaster of Serra Catholic from 1995 to 2000 and adjunct professor at Duquesne University from 1997 to 2000. The Pittsburgh Diocese was reacting to an allegation that he had abused a teenage boy in New Hampshire during the 1980s.
Lengwin said diocesan policy calls for sending warning letters involving allegations of sexual abuse against a cleric regardless of where the alleged offense occurred.
Staff writer Bill Vidonic contributed to this report. Bill Zlatos is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7828 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Former youth volunteer facing federal child pornography charges
- 6 shot at Clairton speakeasy; police seek suspects
- Youngsters embrace technology that combines art, software in 3D printing
- Snow removal crews from Pennsylvania hit the road to help Buffalo
- Water main break leaves Millvale dry for several hours
- Blackjacks off the table for Pittsburgh police
- District judge who performed state’s first same-sex wedding looks higher
- Nude photos of Penn Hills High School students spur investigation
- Slain FBI agent Dixon’s legacy lives on in Pittsburgh Field Office, 10K race fundraiser
- Judge: UPMC engaged in unfair labor practices; appeal planned
- WVU frat brothers charged with hazing pledges