Fr Andrew Pawlaczyk Horowitz Law

Fr. Andrew Pawlaczyk – Diocese of Erie

Father Andrew Pawlaczyk
Diocese of Erie

Fr Andrew Pawlaczyk Horowitz Law

Ordained: May 1962
Death: 1982

Assigned as follows:

  • 6/09/1962 – 1971: Faculty, Cathedral Preparatory, Erie PA
  • 1/22/1971 – 1976: Chaplain, United States Army
  • 8 /1976 – 1978: Chaplain, Hamot Medical Center, Erie PA
  • 5/01/1978 – 1982: Chaplain, Unites States Army

Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations against Father Andrew Pawlaczyk:

In a letter dated April 20, 2011,` and addressed to Bishop Trautman at the Diocese of Erie, a victim reported abuse by Father Andrew Pawlaczyk. The victim explained that it began when the victim was a student at Erie Cathedral Preparatory and Pawlaczyk took him to football games where they were permitted to sit in the press box.

Soon after that, Pawlaczyk began taking the victim to steam baths, where they sat naked together and Pawlaczyk noted that it was not unusual for one man to whisk the back of another with a strange looking brush while in the steam bath.

Pawlaczyk built a fairly strong relationship with the victim’s parents and began visiting their home regularly. The following summer, Pawlaczyk picked up the victim and took him to a cottage on the lakefront.

The first thing they did was go swimming without swimsuits. Although the victim thought it was strange, he attributed the behavior to simply being rebellious. After swimming, they went back to the cottage and Pawlaczyk took the victim into the bedroom and told him that he was going to give him a massage.

The victim was face down on the bed with no clothes on. Pawlaczyk then sat on the victim’s buttocks—wearing no clothes—while he massaged him. Then they reversed roles. After they were done, the victim found ejaculate in the bed which was not from him.

Continued Abuse Even After Pawlaczyk Moves

When Pawlaczyk was serving in the United States Army and stationed at Walter Reed Hospital, the victim’s parents arranged for the victim to fly to Washington, D.C. by himself.

When he arrived, Pawlaczyk took him to the Kennedy Center for a concert and to a basketball game to watch “Pistol” Pete Maravich. From the time he arrived, Pawlaczyk supplied him with cigarettes and alcohol.

After a few nights, Pawlaczyk suggested that instead of sleeping in separate rooms, they should sleep on the fold out beds in the living room. They again performed mutual massages and then Pawlaczyk fondled the victim’s genitals. Pawlaczyk asked him, “Have you ever had an erection like this?”

That same evening Pawlaczyk took the victim into the shower so they could wash each other. Pawlaczyk also let the victim drink heavily and the victim did not recall what occurred the following night. The next day, the victim left for home and never saw Pawlaczyk again.

The Grand Jury did not find any documentation that indicated that the Diocese of Erie ever reported the case to local law enforcement. Additionally, there is no indication that the Diocese offered any counseling to the victim.

Pawlaczyk is deceased and buried at Calvary Cemetery in Erie, Pennsylvania.

Contact us today.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of Erie. 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 Erie 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.

Fr Jan Olowin Horowitz Law

Fr. Jan Olowin – Diocese of Erie

Father Jan Olowin
Diocese of Erie

Fr Jan Olowin Horowitz Law

Ordained: May 1968
Withdrawn from active ministry: 2016

Assigned as follows:

  • 6/16/1968 – 9/02/1970: St. Patrick, Erie, PA
  • 6/16/1968 – 9/02/1970: Faculty, Cathedral Preparatory, Erie, PA
  • 9/02/1970 – 3/09/1984: St. Patrick, Erie, PA
  • 8/16/1971 – 1/31/1983: Chaplain, Soldiers and Sailors Home
  • 3/09/1984 – 8/25/1986: St. Adalbert, Sharon, PA
  • 8/25/1986 – 11/07/1992: St. Joseph, Oil City, PA
  • 11/07/1992 – 6/28/1998: St. George, Erie, PA
  • 6/28/1998 – 12/21/1998: Sabbatical, American College of Louvain
  • 12/21/1998 – 6/05/1999: St. Joseph, Sharon, PA
  • 6/06/1999 – 12/31/2007: Chaplain, FCI McKean, Bradford, PA
  • 1/01/2008 – 8/21/2008: Sabbatical
  • 8/22/2008 – 8/31/2012: St. Michael, Emlenton, PA
  • 8/22/2008 – 8/31/2012: Chaplain, Clarion University of Pennsylvania, Clarion, PA
  • 10/21/2016 – 11/04/2016: Temporary Parochial Administrator, St. Elizabeth Seton, Sun City, AZ

Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations against Father Jan Olowin:

According to documents reviewed by the Grand Jury, the Diocese of Erie personnel file for Father Jan Olowin contains a 1993 document entitled “Summary of Phone Conversation.” A man contacted the Diocese of Erie to report that a friend was sexually abused by Olowin, who had recently been appointed pastor at St. George.  The promotion had left the man “disillusioned” given Olowin’s alleged misconduct.  The caller also discussed the abuse of a second friend on a trip to Mexico.  According to the caller, the second friend was able to “fight off Olowin’s sexual advances.”

In November 2016, Bishop Lawrence Persico wrote a letter to Olowin, now retired in Peoria, Arizona, indicating that he had learned of an allegation of clerical misconduct made several decades ago against Olowin. Persico’s letter did not mention details, but it referenced a phone call that Persico and Olowin had the day before.  Per the grand jury report, “the Grand Jury can infer that Persico outlined Olowin’s offenses in this call and articulated the reason for the letter in greater detail. This letter officially restricted Olowin from public exercise of all priestly ministry until further notice.”  Simply put: Persico did not want to outline the allegations in writing but did catalog them during the earlier phone call. Whatever they were, they were serious enough for Bishop Persico to restrict all of Olowin’s faculties indefinitely.

A subsequent letter from the Bishop of Phoenix confirmed that Olowin would not be allowed to exercise any public ministry “until the matter of the alleged abuse was resolved.” It is unknown if the investigation of Olowin is continuing or if law enforcement was ever notified. It is also unclear if the 2016 investigation regarded the 1993 allegations or a new allegation received in 2016.

Olowin currently resides in Peoria, Arizona.  His name is not included on the Diocese of Erie’s list of credibly accused priests.

Contact us today.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of Erie. 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 Erie 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.

Fr. John Murray – Diocese of Erie

Father John L. Murray
Diocese of Erie

Fr John L Murray Horowitz Law

Fr John L Murray Horowitz Law

Ordained: May 1947

Sick leave: 1968-1972 and 1985-1987

Criminal conviction: 1985

Permanently restricted: 1987

Death: date unknown

Assigned as follows:

  • 5/31/1947 -5/28/1955: Sacred Heart, Parochial Vicar with Residence, Sharon, PA
  • 5/28/1955 -6/11/1960: St. Paul, Parochial Vicar with Residence, Erie, PA
  • 8/25/1959 -6/11/1960: St. Paul, Parochial Vicar with Residence. Special Duties, Part-Time Faculty, Erie Cathedral Preparatory, Erie, PA
  • 6/11/1960 -8/01/1966: Special Ministry, Erie Cathedral Preparatory, Erie, PA
  • 8/27/1966 -1/31/1969: Special Ministry, DuBois Central Catholic HS, Special Duties, Headmaster, DuBois, PA
  • 6/16/1967 -10/15/1968: St. Bernard, Administration with Residence, Falls Creek, PA
  • 10/15/1968- 5/26/1972: Health Leave
  • 5/26/1972 -1/04/1974: Special Ministry, Vicar Assistant with Residence, Our Lady Queen of the Americas, Conneaut Lake, PA
  • 1/04/1974 – 6/01/1979: Pastor with Residence, Our Lady Queen of the Americas, Conneaut Lake, PA
  • 6/01/1979 – 10/15/1985: Pastor with Residence, St. Matthew in the Woods, Erie, PA
  • 10/15/1985 – 6/01/1987: Sick Leave
  • 6/01/1987: Restricted, Erie, PA

Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations against Father John Murray:

According to the grand jury report, the Diocese of Erie received reports that Father John L. Murray sexually molested young boys in a church rectory before serving mass, as well as in recreational settings such as the lake shore. A review of his Diocesan file revealed that, as a result, the Diocese of Erie paid thousands of dollars in therapy fees and civil settlements. Two of his victims received monetary settlements in the amount of $25,000 each.

The first allegation of sexual abuse against Murray was made in 1967. It was reported that in the summer of 1966, Murray, while in a social setting with the victim’s family at the shore, allegedly fondled the young boy in the water and on shore.

This incident was brought to the attention of the boy’s parents and Bishop John F. Whealon in 1967. There was no indication in the file that law enforcement was notified. Whealon’ s personal notes revealed that he confronted Murray with the accusation and spoke with the victim’s father on a number of occasions. Murray partially denied the allegation by telling the Bishop that the victim has “an overactive imagination,” and that any touching was accidental due to normal roughhousing with the boy.

The notes further indicated that the victim’s father met with Murray and Murray apologized to him for the incident. The records revealed that Whealon convinced the family that nothing could be done in this case. Whealon wrote that the victim’s mother and father have “no doubt that this priest (Murray) did something wrong, in the water and on the shore.”

Whealon recorded the father as saying, “If it was the first time, Father Murray is now so frightened that it will not happen again.”

In April of 1985, Murray was charged by the Pennsylvania State Police with one count each of indecent assault and corruption of minors as the result of Murray sexually molesting a 12-year-old boy who was preparing to serve mass in the church rectory. He eventually pled guilty to both charges, was sentenced to 12 months’ probation and fined.

As a result of Murray’s second instance of child molestation, the Diocese disciplined him by removing his priestly faculties in 1985. While awaiting sentencing on his criminal charges, the Diocese of Erie sent Murray to two treatment facilities. After several years of treatment, paid for by the Diocese, Murray was retired and moved to his family home in Philadelphia. As of 2007, he was still receiving money to pay for his therapy.

Finally, in 2016, Bishop Lawrence Persico received the latest complaint against Murray. This incident came to the attention of the Diocese when the victim was visiting the Conneaut Lake area. According to Persico’s handwritten file note, the victim, now 55 years of age, was a 12-year-old boy in 1973. He was cutting grass at Our Lady of the Americas church where Murray was the Pastor. Murray allegedly grabbed the child’s genitals through the boy’s clothes.

Persico wrote to the victim on September 15, 2016, and advised him that the Diocese notified the Erie County District Attorney’s Office and reported the incident to Childline. He further advised that Murray was out of ministry, was not permitted to function as a priest and offered to speak with the victim should he have any further questions.

Murray appears on the Diocese of Erie’s list of credibly accused priests who are now deceased.  The date of his death is unknown.

Contact us today.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of Erie. 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 Erie 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.

Fr. Leon Muroski – Diocese of Erie

Father Leon Muroski
Diocese of Erie

Ordained: May 1960
Psychological treatment: May 1994
Retired: 2002

Assigned as follows:

  • 6/11/1960 -9/01/1967: Parochial Vicar, St. Luke, Erie, PA
  • 3/30/1961 -N/A: Chaplain, Erie County T.B. Hospital
  • 9/01/1960 -6/16/1967: Special Ministry, Faculty, St. Mark’s, Erie, PA
  • 6/16/1967 -10/12/1982: Diocese Office, St. Mark’s Seminary, Erie, PA
  • 10/12/1982- 9/01/1995: Pastor, Our Lady of the Lake, Edinboro, PA
  • 5/1994 Sent to St. Luke’s Institute for Psychological Treatment
  • 9/01/1995 -6/01/1997: Retired, St. Casimirs, Rectory, Erie, PA
  • 6/01/1997 -4/01/2001: The Christophers, Unknown duties, New York, NY
  • 5/03/2001: Resident, St. Patrick’s, Erie, PA
  • 9/01/2001 – 3/11/2002: Chaplain, Pleasant Ridge Manor West, Girard, PA
  • 1/2320/03 – N/A: St. Patrick’s, Unassigned
  • 12/10/2015 – Present: Diocese Retirement Home, Erie, PA

Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations against Father Leon Muroski:

Father Leon Muroski served the Diocese of Erie from 1960 through 2002. Most of his ministry was spent serving in Special Ministry as an Administrator for the Diocese and working with young people aspiring to become priests at St. Mark’s Seminary.

After 20 years of administrative duties, Muroski finally got his own parish. This ministry lasted from 1982 until 1995 but was abruptly halted when Muroski was accused of sexual misconduct while he was a Spiritual Director at the seminary.

According to the grand jury report, Muroski was sent to St. Luke’s Institute in Suitland, Maryland, for individual psychotherapy in 1994 after he admitted to inappropriate contact with the seminarians under his watch. These seminarians were all male, eighteen to twenty-three years old when Muroski would counsel them. This counselling included allegations of full body massages, kissing, masturbation and fondling of the seminarians’ buttocks and genitals.

Muroski would eventually be placed back into ministry after therapy at St. Luke’s and served in the Diocese of Erie and in The Christophers program in New York City.

While many of those exploited by Muroski were adults, at least three were minor children. At this time Muroski and his fellow priest, Salvatore Luzzi (who also faced sexual misconduct allegations and was sent to SLI with Muroski), were assigned as Spiritual Directors to these seminarians.

Covering Up for Fellow Priests

In 1974-1975, Muroski was working at Camp Notre Dame in Fairview, Pennsylvania, when a young seminarian named Michael Amy was accused of fondling two juveniles. These victims reported the incident to the Pennsylvania State Police, the Diocese of Erie Administration, and to their parents.

The Diocese representative for this incident and Camp Notre Dame, Father Lawrence Speice, assisted Amy by interceding on Amy’s behalf with the State Police and the boy’s parents. No arrest was made and the Diocese does not have a file on the victims.

Muroski dealt with Amy by directing him to go to counseling and keeping him in seminary. Amy would go on to abuse at least two more juveniles as an ordained priest, along with several other undocumented juvenile prostitutes before being laicized.

During Amy’s laicization process, he would call Muroski as a witness and Muroski denied knowledge of any wrongdoings by Amy.

The sexual abuse of seminarians by Muroski and Luzzi cost the Diocese of Erie over $89,500.00 in civil payments to three former college seminarians were overseen by Muroski and Luzzi while they studied at St. Mark’s. Another former seminarian had several thousand dollars of counseling paid for by the Diocese over the course of many years.

Soon after Muroski finished his therapy at St. Luke’s, Bishop Trautman welcomed him back to the pastoral ministry on February 22, 1995. This ministry came with several restrictions.

Trautman restricted Muroski from contact with youth under the age of 19. In particular, Trautman specified restrictions on counseling, traveling, marriage preparation, recreation, and socialization. This was ordered by penal precept dated the same date as Muroski’ s welcome back letter.

Little was found on Muroski’ s whereabouts or duties within the Diocese in 1995-1996, but in 1997, it was found that Muroski was serving in ministry for The Christophers in New York City. Once again, little is documented about his duties with The Christophers and it is unknown if The Christophers were notified of his past sexual involvement with young people in Erie.

In 2001, Muroski returned to the Diocese of Erie from The Christophers and was retired.

Muroski was permitted to move into the retired priest home in 2002, which is where he still resides despite a Diocese rostered a list of all the retired clergy living in the home not listing Muroski as a resident.

Contact us today.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of Erie. 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 Erie 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.

Msgr. Joseph Meisinger – Diocese of Erie

Monsignor Joseph Meisinger
Diocese of Erie

Fr Joseph Meisinger Horowitz Law

Ordained: 1933
Death: 1979

Assigned as follows:

2/1956-5/1972: Immaculate Conception Church

Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations against Monsignor Joseph Meisinger:

Monsignor Joseph Meisinger is identified on a list of clergy members at the Diocese of Erie who were already deceased when allegations of child sexual abuse were made against them. The Diocese of Erie has not released any information about the allegation(s), including the age/gender of his alleged victim(s) or the parish to which Meisinger was assigned when the abuse happened.

Meisinger died in 1979 as a priest in good standing.

Contact us today.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of Erie. 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 Erie 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.

Fr. Desmond McGee – Diocese of Erie

Father Desmond McGee
Diocese of Erie

Fr Desmond McGee Horowitz Law

Fr Desmond McGee Horowitz Law

Ordained: 1970
Retired: 1997

Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations against Father Desmond McGee:

Father Desmond McGee was not listed in the names associated with the Diocese of Erie in the initial 2018 Pennsylvania grand just report, however, the release of the report prompted a male victim to come out once again against the monsignor.

The victim accused McGee of raping or molesting him on 10 times between September 1988 and October 1989, while he was a student at Bradford Central Christian High School. McGee was the headmaster of the school at that time and was suspended as headmaster after the victim filed the suit, though his attorney’s claimed he was retiring at the end of the.

According to reports from the Erie TImes-News, the victim had filed a civil suit in April 1996 claiming a Catholic priest, McGee, repeatedly raped him. The judge dismissed the suit because the two-year statute of limitations had expired dismissed.

After the grand jury report was released, the victim repeated his accusations against McGee and McKean county is investigating.

McGee is currently a priest in good standing but retired and a patient at Christ the King Manor, a nursing home in DuBois, Pennsylvania.

Contact us today.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of Erie. 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 Erie 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.

Fr. Thomas E. Smith – Diocese of Pittsburgh

Father Thomas E. Smith

Diocese of Pittsburgh

Fr. Thomas E. Smith Horowitz Law   Fr. Thomas E. Smith Horowitz Law

Ordained: 1951

Died: 2015

Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations against Father Thomas E. Smith:

Father Thomas Smith was first publicly identified as an accused priest by the Diocese of Pittsburgh in December 2018.  According to media reports, a woman accused Smith of groping her breasts at a St. Anselm High School dance in approximately 1967 when she was 15 years old.  

The Diocese of Pittsburgh says this is the first allegation it has received regarding Smith, who now appears on its list of priests accused of abuse after their deaths.

Smith died in 2015.

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.

 

Fr. Michael R. Freeman – Diocese of Erie

Father Michael R. Freeman

Diocese of Erie

Fr. Michael Freeman Horowitz Law

Ordination (Diocese of Buffalo): 1972

Faculties Revoked by Diocese of Buffalo: 1981

Possible inpatient treatment: 1981, 1989

Faculties Revoked by Diocese of Erie: 1989

Died: 2010

Assigned as follows:

  • 1972-1975 St. Margaret (Buffalo, NY)
  • 1975-1976 St. Lawrence (Buffalo, NY)
  • 1975-1976 Bishop Turner High School
  • 1976-1980 Sacred Heart (Niagara Falls, NY)
  • 1980-1981 Chaplain, United States Army
  • 1981 Unassigned
  • 1982-1984 St. Christopher (Tonawanda, PA)
  • 1984-1989 St. Mary (Lancaster, PA)

Summary of Allegations against Father Michael Robert Freeman:

Through Father Michael Robert Freeman openly admitted to sexually violating young male children in at least five of his six ministry assignments, there was no evidence of the Diocese of Erie, Pennsylvania or Buffalo, New York ever reported Freeman to the local authorities. According to the Grand Jury investigation of the Diocese of Erie, Freeman’s home diocese, the Diocese of Buffalo, first became aware of Freeman’s criminal activity in 1981. Despite Freeman’s confession of sexual misconduct at St. Margaret’s & St. Lawrence parishes in New York, he was later allowed to minister in the Diocese of Erie under the supervision of his “benevolent bishop,” Bishop Michael J. Murphy. He worked in the Diocese of Erie until 1989, but was never incardinated into the Diocese of Erie.

According to the 2018 grand jury report, Freeman was also treated at Southdown Institute, a notorious treatment facility for pedophile priests in Toronto, on at least two occasions.  Based upon our experience, we believe it is highly likely that at least one, if not both, of these treatments occurred before Freeman was assigned in the Diocese of Erie. It is typically the case that dangerous priests who are discharged from treatment seek work in another diocese from a “benevolent bishop” when their home diocese will not allow them to be reassigned there.  While we cannot say this with absolutely certainty in the case of Freeman without seeing his personnel file, the chronology certainly suggests this was the case.

Freeman subsequently admitted to sexually abusing children in all of the parishes to which he was assigned.  

He was never assigned in ministry after 1989, but it is unclear what Freeman did to support himself after that time.  In 1999, the Diocese of Buffalo indicated in a letter to Freeman that they were terminating his insurance benefits because his “new employer” would be covering them, but the identity of the “new employer” is not clear.

According to The Buffalo News, another victim told the Diocese of Buffalo that Freeman forced him to perform oral sex on the priest at gunpoint while he was a child. According to the victim, Freeman repeatedly sexually abused him and then forced the child to confess his “sins” once the act of abuse was complete, as if the boy had done something wrong. The victim added that on one occasion Freeman took him on a trip to Toronto where the Father allegedly paid a male prostitute to have sex with both Freeman and the victim. The abuse began in 1984, when the victim was 14-years-old and continued well into the victim’s high school years.

Freeman died in 2010.  

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of Erie.  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 Erie 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.

 

Fr. Donald Cooper – Diocese of Erie

Father Donald Cooper

Diocese of Erie

Fr. Donald Cooper Horowitz Law

Ordained: 1963

Retired: 2005

Death: 2011

Assigned as follows:

  • 1963 – 1964 Bradford Central High Christian High School (Bradford, PA)
  • 1964 – 1971 St. Titus (Titusville, PA)
  • 1971 – 1975 St. George (Erie, PA)
  • 1975 – 1984 St. Charles (New Bethlehem, PA)
  • 1984 – 1987 Mount Calvary (Erie, PA)
  • 1987 – 1988 Assumption (Oil City, PA)
  • 1988 – 1989 St. Catherine (DuBois, PA)
  • 1988 – 1989 St. Anthony (Walston, PA)
  • 1989 – 2002 St. Joseph (Force, PA)
  • 2002 – 2005 Christ the King (Houtzdale, PA)
  • 2002 – 2005 Holy Trinity (Ramney, PA)

Summary of Allegations against Father Donald Cooper:

According to the 2018 grand jury report, in 2005, the Diocese of Erie received an allegation of sexual abuse against Father Donald Cooper from a 40-year-old victim stating he was abused from 1981 – 1982. During the time of the alleged abuse, Cooper served as a priest at St. Charles in New Bethlehem where he met the then 16-year-old victim. The victim claimed to be in search of “spiritual fulfillment” at the time as he came from a family disconnected with religion. The victim was very interested in the Catholic faith and Cooper offered him a private catechism to learn more about the religion.

Cooper used this opportunity to take the victim on overnight trips in which they would privately stay in motels & hotels together.  This is when the sexual contact generally occurred as well as in the St. Charles rectory. According to the victim, retired priest Fr. William Smith also resided in the rectory and knew of the sexual abuse of the child but did nothing to stop it.

After the victim reported the abuse in 2005, Monsignor Robert Smith conducted an investigation in which he confronted Cooper regarding the charges. Cooper confirmed that he massaged and showered with the boy, but denied the allegations of sexual contact. Smith determined that the denials were not entirely credibly and that the accuser was likely telling the truth. Cooper was given the option to retire and surrender his ministry faculties voluntarily, which he accepted.  

Cooper died in 2011.  

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of Erie.  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 Erie 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.

 

Fr. Dennis Chludzinski – Diocese of Erie

Father Dennis Chludzinski

Diocese of Erie

Fr. Dennis Chludzinski Horowitz Law

Ordained: 1976

Leave of Absence: 1978 – 1979

Assigned as follows:

  • 1976 – 1977   Sacred Heart (Sharon, PA)
  • 1977 – 1978   Holy Rosary (Erie, PA)
  • 1979 – 1980   Unassigned/Under Father Kelly’s Supervision
  • 1980 – 1984   Faculty at Villa Maria High School (Erie, PA)
  • 1980-1984     St. Benedict’s Academy (Erie, PA)
  • 1980-1984     Mercyhurst Preparatory (Erie, PA)
  • 1984 – 1984   Attending Gannon University, Our Lady of Mercy
  • 1985 – 1986   No information provided by the Diocese of Erie
  • 1986 – 1987   Chaplain, Sisters Community at Mercyhurst College (Hamot, PA)

Summary of Allegations against Father Dennis Chludzinski:

The Grand Jury investigated the files of the Diocese of Erie and proved that the Diocese had existing knowledge of Father Dennis Chludzinski’s sexual misconduct as early as 1984. Diocese files held a notarized testimony in which Chludzinski admitted to the 1984 abuse of an 18-year-old boy who was a high school senior at Mercyhurst High School.  According to Chludzinski, the abuse began in 1984 and may have continued into 1985, though he could not remember for sure, and also involved a second man who was a friend of Chludzinski’s.  In response, Chludzinski was placed on leave from his chaplaincy at the high school, and was sent to further his own studies at Gannon University. 

In a second notarized testimony, Chludzinski admitted that he sexually abused a 14 year old boy after the initial Mercyhurst allegations became known and after he was placed on leave from his chaplaincy. According to Chludzinski, he abused this victim from 1984-1985. 

In 2004, Vicar General Msgr. Robert J. Smith received a letter from another priest reporting that the father of an underage parishioner reported that Chludzinski molested his son a camping trip.  The victim eventually met with Chancery officials and reported that his abuse occurred while he was an altar boy at Our Lady of Mercy from 1983-1985.  According to the victim another altar boy was involved in the abuse however there is no further information listed in the Grand Jury report as to whether the allegation was investigated further.

In 2004 Bishop Donald W. Trautman notified the Erie County District Attorney’s office of the allegation against Chludzinski. Trautman followed up with a memorandum in which he informed Chludzinski of the accusations against him and received a trite, “Sorry,” in response. Trautman wrote also that later, “Dennis Chludzinski called and admitted sexual involvement with (the victim).”

Chludzinski is believed to be 73 years old and still residing in the Erie, Pennsylvania, area. 

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of Erie.  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 Erie 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.