Fr. Ferdinand B. Demsher – Diocese of Pittsburgh

Father Ferdinand B. Demsher

Diocese of Pittsburgh

Ordained: 1946

Death: 1983

Assigned as Follows:

  • 1946 – 1947 – St. Peter, New Kensington, PA
  • 1947-1949 – Christ the King, Ambridge, PA
  • 1949-1951 – St. James, West End, PA
  • 1951-1963 – United States Army
  • 1963-1966 – Resurrection, Brookline, PA
  • 1966-1983 – St. Mary of the Assumption, Pittsburgh, PA

Summary of Allegations Against Father Ferdinand B. Demsher:

A 2002 email included in documents subpoenaed from the Diocese of Pittsburgh details sexual abuse by Father Ferdinand Demsher. The man who wrote the email was 13 to 14 at the time of the abuse, which occurred from 1975 to 1976 at St. Mary of the Assumption.

The victim did “odd jobs” for Demsher. When he complained of a heat rash on his thigh while he was working in the summer, Father Demsher offered to look at it and had the victim pull down his pants. Demsher then manipulated the victim’s penis until he ejaculated. He continued this abuse while the victim’s rash was present. The victim also said that Demsher attempted to get him to touch him sexually. Father Ferdinand Demsher would put his finger into his own anus and rub his prostate until ejaculation, then he told the victim that his “large hands” and “long fingers” would be able to reach his prostate. He also asked to rub the backs of his thighs and his buttocks in order to alleviate his sciatic nerve pain.

The victim also described being naked in bed with Demsher while he used a vibrating massager on the boy until he ejaculated. Father Demsher then made the victim do the same to him. This abuse stopped when the boy entered high school and no longer went to the rectory. The Diocese of Pittsburgh deemed the accusations credible and fulfilled the victim’s request for help with counseling.

In 2012, a woman called the Diocesan Assistance Coordinator to report that he had a friend who was molested as a boy in the late 1970s to early 1980s. The Coordinator gave her information that she could forward to her friend and the woman gave the potential victim’s first name. The man does not seem to have contacted the Diocese of Pittsburgh.

A 2015 memorandum revealed a second victim. This victim described being a 14-year-old boy when Demsher would sexually abuse him. When he was a freshman at Central Catholic High School in Pittsburgh, Demsher fondled his genitals when he came to pick up his report card. This occurred twice. He accepted the counseling that the Diocese of Pittsburgh offered.

Another memorandum from 2016 uncovered a third victim. This victim was 10 or 11 years old when he was sexually abused by Demsher. He was an altar boy and attended Resurrection grade school at the time. The victim was contacted again that year to offer him counseling.

The Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office was notified of another sexual abuse accusation against Demsher in 2015. The District Attorney’s records show that abuse occurred between 1964 and 1965 at a church in the county.

A fourth victim was disclosed in a 2016 memorandum. The abuse happened in the mid- to late-1960s, but the victim did not give details about the nature of the abuse. He did mention that Demsher provided alcohol to a group of boys that he took to Wildwood, New Jersey, two times. The Diocese of Pittsburgh gave the Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office information about the fourth victim’s abuse and gave him financial assistance.

Demsher died in 1983.

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.