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More claim abuse at North Catholic

| Wednesday, June 18, 2014, 11:06 p.m.

The sexual abuse scandal at Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic High School has widened to at least 22 alleged victims, as the Diocese of Pittsburgh said on Wednesday that three more have come forward.

The latest allegations implicate Marianist Brother William Kiefer, who was at the school from 1956 to 1962 and is now deceased, said diocese spokesman the Rev. Ron Lengwin. The number of accused Marianists is now nine, he said.

The oldest allegation dates to the 1940s, Lengwin has said.

“When we speak to (the victims) we let them know we're willing to help, if we can,” Lengwin said. “Of course, we also turn it over to the Marianists and the District Attorney's Office.”

Mike Manko, a spokesman for the Allegheny County DA, said the office has not received any information that would allow it to move forward with a prosecution.

The Rev. Martin A. Solma, provincial of the Marianist Province of the USA based in St. Louis, confirmed that two of the people who made the latest allegations named brothers implicated by others.

“We have tried to respond in a transparent and honest way to what has transpired at North Catholic. Along with the Child Protection Office of the diocese, we are reaching out to all those who have come forward,” Solma said in a prepared statement.

Solma wrote an apology letter to the Pittsburgh diocese that appeared in the Pittsburgh Catholic newspaper last month.

The North Catholic scandal erupted on March 20 when the diocese learned that Marianist Brother Bernard Hartman, 74, a former science teacher at North Catholic, is awaiting trial in Australia on charges that he molested four students at a Catholic school there in the 1970s and 1980s.

Lengwin said the diocese reacted promptly, sending two letters to North Catholic graduates, which generated reports of abuse.

North Catholic students will move from Troy Hill to a new campus in Cranberry this fall.

Bobby Kerlik is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7886 or bkerlik@tribweb.com.

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