Fr. Charles Chatt – Diocese of Pittsburgh

Father Charles Chatt

Diocese of Pittsburgh

Ordination: 1964

Leave of Absence: 1992-2003

Voluntarily resigned assignment: 2003

Assigned as Follows:

  • 1964-1969 – St. Alphonsus (Springdale, PA)
  • 1969-1974 – St. Anne, (Castle Shannon, PA)
  • 1974-1981 – St. Albert the Great (Baldwin, PA)
  • 1981-1992 – Our Lady of Loreto (Brookline, PA)
  • 1992-2003 – Leave of Absence
  • 2003 – Withdrew from Active Ministry

Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations Against Father Charles Chatt:

Files subpoenaed from the Diocese of Pittsburgh show that Father Charles Chatt allegedly abused many young boys, four of which came forward to speak with the Diocese. The first report is from 1992. The father of the victim, now a young man, said that Chatt sexually abused his son at St. Anne when the boy was in 7th or 8th grade in 1970 or 1971. The father said he had personally gone to see Chatt and told him that he needed to call the Diocese of he (the father) would. Chatt met with officials from the Diocese of Pittsburgh the very same day and admitted to abusing this victim. He said that the “relationship” continued after his time at St. Ann, ending when the victim was 20 years old. Chatt also stated that the victim would sometimes ask him for money. Chatt also admitted to engaging in sexual contact with a 15-year-old boy at St. Albert.

Father Charles Chatt denied abusing anyone in the Our Lady of Loreto parish but did say he had contact with the first victim and two of his brothers at Our Lady of Loreto after they were over the age of 18. He resigned from Our Lady of Loreto in 1992. He then went to St. Michael’s Community in St. Louis, Missouri for treatment.

A 1992 letter from the Diocesan file gave more details about Chatt’s abuse. In addition to the first victim, he admitted to sexual contact with 5 other boys below the age of 18 in the 1970s. He blamed his actions on the “free spirit” of the time and the “promiscuity of the adolescent boys involved.”

Diocesan officials met with the first victim and his wife in 1994. The victim stated that he met with Chatt to tell him that he and some other boys were being inappropriately touched by their basketball coach, but Chatt didn’t do anything about it. The abuse from Chatt started shortly after the victim reported the basketball coach’s abuse. The victim said there were five other young male victims and that he was present when two others were abused with him at Father Mihock’s cottage on the Youghiogheny Reservoir. He noted that there was alcohol at this cottage. The sexual acts included oral sex, anal sex, and Chatt putting objects into the victim’s anus. While the victim and Chatt were involved with each other, Chatt would encourage the other two victims to pair up, as well.

Chatt would also abuse the victim in his own home when his parents were asleep. He also bought the victim expensive gifts. At the age of 15, the victim told his mother about the abuse and she, Father Chatt, and the victim all went to confession together. After that, the victim would occasionally visit Chatt but their “relationship” subsided. This victim also recalled seeing Father Chatt’s homosexual pornography collection and his wife stated that she remembered seeing a nude photo of a six-year-old girl who lived near Father Chatt’s parents. Chatt allegedly told her that he took showers with the young girl.

Diocesan records show that officials from the Diocese of Pittsburgh met with Chatt about their conversation with this victim and his wife. The Diocese paid for therapy for this victim and his family for many years after the accusations.

A third victim came to the Diocese with allegations against Father Chatt in 2001. He stated that Chatt had fondled him when he worked answering phones in the rectory. He was 15 or 16 years old at the time when this abuse occurred at Our Lady of Loreto in the 1980s. The abuse happened approximately every other week for several years, then the abuse suddenly stopped. This victim added that he found a nude photo of one of the other boys who worked in the rectory in Chatt’s room, and he assumed that Chatt was sexually involved with this boy as well. This victim received counseling assistance from the Diocese.

Another memorandum documented a phone call with Father Chatt concerning the third victim’s accusations. He admitted that he “playfully groped” the boy but denied that it went on for so long and so frequently. Chatt was described as “remorseful” and said that his behavior with this victim was less serious than the behavior that caused him to go to St. Michael’s. No legal route was pursued.

Rita Flaherty, Diocesan Assistance Coordinator, was contacted by a fourth victim in 2003. This victim said that at St. Ann, St. Alphonsus, and at a cottage outside the city of Pittsburgh, he had suffered “sexual, moral, and mental manipulation” by Chatt. He said this happened when he was 15 years old, and because Chatt was known to take nude photos, he believed many other boys were affected. He also claimed to know a family in which all brothers were abused by Chatt is Castle Shannon. No formal complaints were filed.

Though Chatt was recommended to be returned to ministry after his 5 months at St. Michaels, Bishop Donald Wuerl denied the request. Chatt later did “telephone work,” assisted elderly people, and spent time as a social worker. He withdrew from the ministry in 2003 and the Bishop revoked his permissions and faculties.

Chatt is still living and is believed to be residing in the St. Louis, Missouri, area. He is 82 years old.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of Pittsburgh.  If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in Pennsylvania, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those abused by Catholic clergy in the Diocese of Pittsburgh now have legal options to recover damages due to a compensation fund created for victims.  Contact us at (954) 641-2100 or adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com today.