Former student says he was sexually abused at St. Joseph School in O’Hara during 1970s
A man who attended St. Joseph School in O’Hara during the 1970s has filed a lawsuit against St. Joseph Parish and the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh for alleged sexual abuse by a teacher in sixth and seventh grades.
The lawsuit, filed in Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas on Thursday, claims the man was sexually assaulted as a boy between 1975 and 1977. The alleged victim, identified only as D.A.L., attended St. Joseph School from first grade through eighth grade. The teacher is not identified.
The Rev. Nick Vaskov, spokesman for the Diocese, said Monday he couldn’t comment on any pending legal action.
The lawsuit claims the sexual assault occurred while the boy sat at his desk and the teacher would lean over and kiss the boy on the head, caress his chest and touch his genitals. The alleged abuse occurred while the other students were busy with school work.
The boy was afraid to deter the teacher’s abuse because the teacher was an intimidating man with a loud voice who would slam doors and throw chairs, the lawsuit said.
The lawsuit claims there were other victims and students once walked out of class and went to the school office to report the sexual assaults to the principal, Sister Annalita Fox.
Fox didn’t believe the students and forced them to confess their sins to the Rev. Walter Demblowsky, the lawsuit said. The priest took them into the “cry room” individually and made them confess, according to the lawsuit.
The man claims after the walkout the sexual assaults stopped, but the teacher kept his job and the issue was never addressed by the school, the principal, the priest or the Diocese.
The man is suing for negligence, fraud, constructive fraud, conspiracy and fraudulent concealment.
The lawsuit claims he has suffered mental anguish, undergone therapy, suffers from intimacy issues and lacks self confidence because of the abuse. He suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and severe anxiety stemming from the assaults.
Emily Balser is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Emily at 724-226-4680, [email protected] or via Twitter .