Fr. Richard J. Dorsch – Diocese of Pittsburgh

Father Richard J. Dorsch

Diocese of Pittsburgh

Fr. Richard Dorsch Horowitz Law

Ordained: 1970

Arrested: 1994

Convicted: 1995

Released after one week of incarceration: 1995

Inpatient treatment: 1994-1995, 1996

Withdrawn from ministry: 1996

Assigned as Follows:

  • 1970-1975 – Parochial Vicar, St. Basil, Carrick, PA
  • 1975-1977 – Parochial Vicar, St. Philip, Crafton, PA
  • 1977-1983 – Parochial Vicar, All Saints, Etna, PA
  • 1983-1985 – Parochial Vicar, St. Michael, Butler, PA
  • 1985-1991 – Pastor, St. Francis De Sale, McKees Rocks, PA
  • 1991-1994 – Administrator, St. Coleman, Turtle Creek, PA
  • 1994 – Team Ministry, Risen Lord, Pittsburgh, PA

Summary of Allegations Against Father Richard J. Dorsch:

Diocesan documents revealed six victims that came forward with allegations against Father Richard Dorsch. The first victim was 13 years old in 1994 when he told his doctor that he had been touched inappropriately by Father Dorsch. At the time, he was serving as pastor at Risen Lord. He was arrested shortly after the Allegheny County Police Department investigated the allegations and the Diocese of Pittsburgh put him on administrative in addition to scheduling an evaluation for him at St. Luke Institute, a notorious treatment facility for pedophile priests located in Suitland, Maryland.

Diocesan files show that Dorsch admitted to touching the boy. He said that he put the boy on his lap, stroked his stomach, and played with his nipples. When asked, he said that he did not think he touched the boy’s genitals. He also admitted that he avoided being alone with adolescent boys because he knew he was attracted to them.

Father Richard Dorsch was convicted of indecent assault and corrupting the morals of a minor in 1995. He only spent a week in prison before being released on parole, even though he was originally sentenced to 11.5 to 23 months.  He eventually returned to St. Luke Institute for additional treatment. 

Dorsch’s second victim came forward late in 1994. He said he was 10 years old in 1981 when the abuse began at the All Saints church. He described being kissed on the head and told to touch Dorsch’s bare chest. The victim also said that in 1991, Dorsch fondled the victim’s genitals while they were naked in a hot tub together. In another instance, Dorsch was with a small group of young boys (including the victim) and one of the other boys told the victim that Father Dorsch had tried to touch his testicles while they were swimming in a lake. The second victim estimated that Dorsch had abused him 50 to 70 separate times and he filed a lawsuit against the Diocese of Pittsburgh.

Dorsch had another inpatient stay at St. Luke Institute in 1996.

Dorsch continued to receive a monthly stipend from the Diocese of Pittsburgh until 2007. Shocking, the Diocese of Pittsburgh continued to try to find him assignments as a priest outside of the Pittsburgh area (so as “to avoid causing any additional scandal for the Diocese”) as recently as 2000.  When those efforts were unsuccessful, he became the designated “go-to” resource for other accused Diocese of Pittsburgh priests going through public allegations of abuse.

A third victim came forward in 2004. At the time of the abuse, the victim was an altar boy and attended All Saints grammar school. He alleged that from1982 to 1985 he was abused by Father Dorsch. He mentioned that Dorsch would make the boy sit on his lap while they were in the hot tub, make him inappropriately touch Dorsch when he was driving, and that he would place his hands in the boy’s pants. He later added that abuse included anal and oral sex. Dorsch readily admitted to inappropriate contact with this victim when confronted in 2008. The victim took his own life in 2010, two months after the Diocese told him they would stop paying for his mental health treatment (despite knowing he was actively suicidal at the time).  His family later filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the Diocese of Pittsburgh that was dismissed by the courts. In its public statement responding to the lawsuit, the Diocese of Pittsburgh spokesman said “the Diocese of Pittsburgh can’t accept that any action of the Diocese contributed to or was responsible for his death.”  

A fourth victim came to the Diocese in 2012 as a 45-year-old man. He said that Father Richard Dorsch abused him in the seventh and eighth grades at All Saints, which resulted in him becoming a heavy drinker by the end of eighth grade. The Diocese of Pittsburgh paid for this victims bus pass and bed, as he was homeless at the time.

In 2012, the Diocesan Assistance Coordinator contacted the mother of a fifth known victim. Aged 32 when his mother was contacted, the victim was only 13 or 14 years old when the abuse took place at St. Coleman in Turtle Creek. The mother of the fifth victim said that she discovered the abuse in the mid-90s when Dorsch was arrested but the new parish pastor told her not to contact the Diocese of Pittsburgh or police.  

In 2016, an adult male told Diocesan officials that he was 10 or 11 when he was abused by Dorsch. He said that Dorsch would fondle him in Dorsch’s bed and in the rectory, as well as get into a hot tub with the victim when both of them were naked.

Dorsch is still living and is believed to be residing in the Greensburg, Pennsylvania, area.  He is 74 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.