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Sex abuse allegations, 'institutional failure' detailed against three Greensburg diocese priests

Stephen Huba
| Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2018, 6:42 p.m.
Bishop Lawrence Brandt of the Catholic Diocese of Greensburg talks about the resignation of Pope Benedict at The Bishop William G. Connare Center in Unity Township on Wednesday, February 27, 2013.
Brian F. Henry | Tribune-Review
Bishop Lawrence Brandt of the Catholic Diocese of Greensburg talks about the resignation of Pope Benedict at The Bishop William G. Connare Center in Unity Township on Wednesday, February 27, 2013.
The grand jury report said that former Greensburg Bishop William Connare was aware of allegations against Edmond A. Parrakow, Robert Moslener and Raymond Lukac but did not limit their interactions with children.
The grand jury report said that former Greensburg Bishop William Connare was aware of allegations against Edmond A. Parrakow, Robert Moslener and Raymond Lukac but did not limit their interactions with children.

The grand jury that investigated allegations of Catholic priest sex abuse in Pennsylvania going back 70 years included 36 pages in its report involving the Greensburg diocese.

Specifically, the grand jury named three priests — the Revs. Edmond A. Parrakow, Robert Moslener and Raymond Lukac — as “examples of institutional failure.”

Edmond A. Parrakow

Now 78, Parrakow of Hempfield is alleged to have admitted to church officials that he sexually abused some 35 male children as a priest in New York prior to the Greensburg diocese agreeing to take him on in 1985.

“Parrakow indicated he preferred his victims around the age of 15 or 16 and admitted to having engaged in sexual touching, mutual masturbation, mutual fellatio, and mutual anal intercourse,” the grand jury report said.

He allegedly abused more minors while serving in the Greensburg diocese in the late 1980s and was eventually removed from ministry as a result of the allegations, the diocese said.

Parrakow did not engage in any priestly activities between 1989 and 2003, and was laicized in 2004. He now works at Sears in the Westmoreland Mall. A manager could not be reached for comment Tuesday, though a coworker said Parrakow left work just before 2 p.m. — when the state Supreme Court released an edited version of the grand jury report.

Parrakow answered the door at his home but declined comment when asked for his reaction to the numerous abuse allegations made against him.

“I haven’t heard anything about the report yet, so I’d rather not comment on it,” Parrakow said before shutting the front door.

A white Chevrolet sedan parked in his driveway had a vanity license plate with the word “PEACE” on it.

Augie Jioio, who lives in the same neighborhood, cut Parrakow’s grass Tuesday. He said he was stunned when told that Parrakow was listed as a “predator priest” in the grand jury report.

“I’ve known Ed for 18 or 19 years,” said Jioio, 23. “I’ve never heard anyone say anything negative about Ed.”

“He’s a nice guy,” said Jioio, who added that his family has attended the same church, St. Paul’s Catholic Church on Carbon Road, as Parrakow for “many, many years.”

The report said when Parrakow was being considered for transfer to Greensburg, he was undergoing evaluation at an in-patient facility in New Mexico for priests accused of sexual abuse of children.

Although then-Greensburg Bishop William G. Connare received “progress reports” about Parrakow, it is unclear whether he understood the full scope of Parrakow’s record of abuse in the Archdiocese of New York, the report said.

However, Connare was warned not to assign Parrakow to any parish that had a school — something that Connare said he could not promise, according to the report.

Parrakow served briefly at Holy Family Catholic Church in Latrobe, in 1985-86, and at St. Pius X Catholic Church in Mt. Pleasant from 1986-89.

“Throughout his assignments, Parrakow regularly had contact with Catholic schools,” the report said.

The report quotes three alleged victims of Parrakow as well as testimony that Parrakow gave to the grand jury on Dec. 11, 2017.

“During his testimony, Parrakow admitted that he had molested children as a priest, many of whom were altar boys,” the grand jury reported. “Parrakow further testified that the (Greensburg) diocese never placed any restrictions on his ministry and never limited his contact with schools, despite the warning and recommendations.”

Robert Moslener

The now 73-year-old Pittsburgh resident is alleged to have sexually abused multiple minors in the Greensburg diocese in the 1970s and ’80s. He was removed from ministry in 2002 as a result of the allegations, the diocese said.

“His tenure in the (Greensburg) diocese was marred by the sexual abuse of children nearly from its outset when, in 1979 and 1980, he acknowledged engaging in ‘inappropriate behavior’ with a 15-year-old victim (Victim One) and was sent for an evaluation,” the report said.

The report noted Connare knew of Moslener’s contact with the boy but permitted him to return to ministry.

“Incident with the 15-year-old boy may well have represented an unacceptable yet understandable way station on his path to more adult sexual integration,” the report quoted internal diocesan documents as saying.

The report includes a note from a student of Moslener’s, stating, “Father Bob is talking about sex in religion class. He said about you playing with yourself and women having sex with each other.”

In May 1986, the Rev. Thomas Klinzing, diocesan vicar general, wrote a confidential memorandum to Connare recommending that Moslener be put “on ice” because of all the complaints from parochial school children.

Connare sent Moslener to a psychologist to be evaluated, the report said.

The report quotes from a letter from North Huntingdon police dated April 10, 1986, stating that Moslener had been investigated for “homosexual acts involving … male juveniles. We do have records on file to substantiate the charges.”

There are no records to indicate Moslener was ever charged or prosecuted, the report said.

Moslener was removed from the priesthood in 2002, when Anthony G. Bosco was bishop of Greensburg.

The report cites testimony from six alleged victims and concludes, “Connare and Bosco permitted Moslener to continue in ministry for 22 years after the initial complaint of child sexual abuse against him and the numerous reports of child sexual assault which followed. During that time, Moslener continued to prey on innocent children within the Diocese of Greensburg.”

Moslener’s known parish assignments were: St. John the Baptist, Scottdale (1976-78); St. Agnes, North Huntingdon (1978-79); St. Joseph, New Kensington (1979-85); St. Pius X, Mt. Pleasant (1985-86); St. Cajetan, Monessen (1986); SS. Simon & Jude, Blairsville (1986-87); Holy Cross, Iselin (1987-88); St. Patrick’s, Brady’s Bend (1992-96); and St. Mary Church and Sacred Heart Church, Yatesboro (1996-2002).

Raymond Lukac

Dating to the 1950s, Lukac is alleged to have sexually abused multiple minors in the Greensburg diocese, which he left in the 1950s but continued in parish ministry elsewhere into the 1960s, the diocese said.

Lukac scandalized parishioners at two parishes — SS. Cyril & Methodius in Fairchance and Holy Trinity in Ford City — by getting romantically involved with teenage girls, including a church organist.

According to the report, Lukac impregnated a 17-year-old girl at Holy Trinity, forged the senior pastor’s signature on a “marriage” certificate and “divorced” the girl months later.

“Despite having sex with a minor, despite fathering a child, despite being married and being divorced, the priest was permitted to stay in ministry thanks to the (Greensburg) diocese’s efforts to find a ‘benevolent bishop’ in another state willing to take him on,” the report said.

The report said Connare went to bat for Lukac on several occasions so that he could get parish assignments in Indiana, Illinois and West Virginia. Connare petitioned Rome in 1963 to fully restore Lukac’s priestly faculties, including the ability to hear confessions, the report said.

“The grand jury finds that the Diocese of Greensburg was aware from the outset of Father Lukac’s ordination that he posed a serious risk of sexual conduct to minor females. Despite this known risk, the diocese failed to properly address the serious complaints against him and thereafter enabled his sexual misconduct,” the report said.

“After being confronted by parishioners of the diocese with Lukac’s abusive acts, Connare doggedly sought to keep him active in his ministry and persisted in his efforts to have Lukac assigned to another diocese,” the grand jury reported. “These assignments included Catholic high schools, where Lukac would be in regular contact with teenage girls, to whom he posed a known, immediate threat.”

Reporters Paul Peirce and Joe Napsha contributed to this report. Stephen Huba is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Stephen at 724-850-1280, shuba@tribweb.com or via Twitter @shuba_trib.

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