Suspended Pittsburgh-area deacon waives hearing on child sex allegations
A suspended Pittsburgh-area deacon waived his right to a preliminary hearing in Washington County on Monday on charges that he sent sexually explicit messages and photos to a police officer posing online as a teenage boy.
Court records show that Deacon Rosendo “Ross” Dacal, 73, waived that hearing. A formal arraignment is scheduled for May 24.
Dacal, a deacon in the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh, was arrested April 10 on five felony charges, including solicitation of child pornography, criminal use of communications and unlawful contact with a minor.
“We will address the merits of the case at the trial level, not the preliminary hearing,” said Dacal's attorney, Robert Del Greco Jr. “These are serious charges, and we are treating them as such.”
Dacal had served the All Saints Parish it Etna since 2011. Bishop David Zubik suspended him last week. His security clearances at the Allegheny County Jail, where he was a chaplain, have been revoked.
North Strabane police Officer Gary Scherer was monitoring a chat room in December and posing as a 14-year-old boy, according to a criminal complaint,
The complaint said a man later identified as Dacal exchanged hundreds of messages with Scherer in the chatroom and via other social media between Dec. 20 and Monday.
“Many of these messages were sexually explicit and graphic in nature,” including ones in which Dacal solicited naked photographs, Scherer wrote in the complaint.
Dacal also sent sexually explicit videos, the complaint said.
Megan Guza is a Tribune-Review staff writer.