Father Dennis Dellamalva
Diocese of Greensburg
Leave of Absence: 1982-1983 (Spencer Abbey Treatment Center)
Resigned from priesthood: 1986
Assigned as follows:
- 6/3/1975: Mount St. Peter (New Kensington, PA)
- 8/17/1977: Mother of Sorrows (Murrysville, PA)
- 5/25/1982: Holy Family (Latrobe, PA)
- 10/1/1983: Leave of absence
- 1986: Resigned from priesthood
Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations against Fr. Dennis Dellamalva:
Fr. Dennis Dellamalva was ordained a priest in 1975, who served in multiple parishes in the Diocese of Greensburg. According to media reports, in 2018, he was named publicly as accused in the PA Grand Jury report. It revealed during the relatively short time period he served as a priest, numerous allegations of child sexual abuse were made against him. In 1983, as conveyed in complaints to the Church and various legal filings, two adolescent brothers went to their parents and told them of sexual assaults committed against them by Father “Denny,” as Dellamalva was known.
These sexual assaults occurred throughout 1981 and 1982. The reports revealed that on occasions when Dellamalva would be welcomed into the family home, he would get the brothers alone in their respective bedrooms and pray with them when they went to bed for the night. He would massage their necks and rub their backs before ultimately massaging their buttocks and working his way into the bottoms of their pajamas. He would fondle their genitals and, on occasion, place the boys’ hands on their own genitals and have them massage themselves while he held their hand. This molestation happened both in the boys’ home and on trips Dellamalva would be invited on with their family, such as to the Seven Springs Ski Resort and Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.
Between 1981 and 1982, Dellamalva had also become friendly with the family of a boy who was friends with the brothers. The priest engaged in the same sexual behavior with the third victim as he did with the brothers. The families of all of the victims reported Dellamalva’s abuse to the Bishop and ultimately filed a lawsuit against him, the Diocese, and the Bishop.
In August of 1985, a settlement offer totaling $375,000 was extended to, and accepted by, all three victims. Records provided by the Diocese also contained voluminous documents on two other juvenile boys who were sexually assaulted by Dellamalva. One of these individuals – – the fourth victim – – described his time serving as an altar boy at Mother of Sorrows in Murrysville. He stated that while in grades nine through twelve, “I had the misfortune of attending an annual mountain ‘retreat,'” which he explained was specifically created by Dellamalva so that he could “get closer to the church’s young people.” The fourth victim stated that he was sexually assaulted by Dellamalva while on the mountain retreat.
Another lawsuit was filed against Dennis Dellamalva, the Diocese, and church officials by a fifth victim who alleged that he was molested by the priest when he was between 13 and 15 years old and playing junior varsity football for Franklin Regional High School. According to this victim, while alone with Dellamalva in the rectory at Mother of Sorrows, Dellamalva had him lay on a blanket on the floor while Dellamalva laid beside him and removed the victim’s pants and t -shirt. Although he was not comfortable with what was happening, he went along with it, in part because Dellamalva had been in the locker room with the football team after games and had seen them undressed.
Dellamalva told the victim to close his eyes and meditate, at which point he removed the victim’s shorts and massaged his penis, before performing oral sex on him. Dellamalva then had the victim hold his erect penis as he ejaculated on the victim’s face. When Dellamalva then began kissing the victim on the mouth, the victim fled. The fifth victim ultimately reached a settlement with the Diocese in the amount of $25,000.
From 1982 to 1983 – – at the time the Diocese received complaints of sexual abuse by Dellamalva – – he was given a leave of absence and sent to the Spencer Abbey treatment center in Massachusetts. With respect to the Bishop, among the pertinent facts appearing in his deposition in connection with civil litigation was that after the parents of the first two victims came and personally confronted him with the allegation that Dellamalva had molested their sons, Dellamalva was transferred to Holy Family
When asked whether Dellamalva had admitted to molesting the two boys, the Bishop stated that he did. Further, in his deposition, when he was specifically asked if he informed the pastor of Holy Family of the reason Dellamalva was being transferred to his parish, the Bishop stated that he did not. When he was asked why he failed to do so, he stated he did not believe it was necessary due to the fact that the priest had been to treatment and was reportedly dealing with his issues. This was after Dellamalva had admitted to the bishop that he had sexually molested children in the Mother of Sorrows.
The Bishop also never informed the pastor of Mother of Sorrows, Monsignor Donald Fisher, of Dellamalva’s admitted molestation of boys. When he was asked why he did not inform Fisher of Dellamalva’ s apparent sexual attraction to, and abuse of children, he once again stated he believed the priest had dealt with his problems and did not feel he should get involved. Eventually, according to church records, after several other parents complained about Dellamalva’ s behavior with their children (no specifics provided with respect to these complaints), The Bishop stated he informed the pastor of Holy Family that it may be best to limit Dellamalva’ s contact with children. Dellamalva last functioned as a priest in the Diocese in 1984, before resigning from the priesthood in 1986.
Dellamalva died in 1994.
Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of Greensburg. 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 Greensburg may have legal options, but filing deadlines will apply so do not delay in reaching out to us.