Tag: Diocese of Greensburg

Fr. Emil Payer – Diocese of Greensburg

Father Emil Payer

Diocese of Greensburg

Emil Payer Diocese of Greensburg Horowitz Law

Ordained: 1971

Removed: 2011

Convicted: 2014

Assignment History:

  • St. Therese (Uniontown, PA)
  • Boniface Roman Catholic Church (Penn Township, PA)
  • John the Baptist Church (Scottsdale, PA)

Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations Against Fr. Emil Payer:

Fr. Emil Payer was ordained a priest in 1971, who served in multiple parishes in the Diocese of Greensburg. According to media reports, in 2014, Fr. Emil Payer was convicted of stealing almost $100,000 from a South Huntingdon church, in which he was ordered to pay back the money and sentenced to ten years’ probation. Fr. Payer was removed from active ministry in 2011 when the theft was discovered, but the diocese said it allowed Payer to continue to live on diocesan property.

According to media reports, in 2018, reports were made by law enforcement officials to the Diocese of Greensburg, alleging that Fr. Payer sexually abused multiple minors and adults in the 1980s. The details of the sexual abuse allegations, including where the alleged abuse occurred, or the victim’s age/gender, is unknown. According to the diocese, Fr. Payer denied the sex abuse allegations, and because the statute of limitations had passed, Payer will not face criminal prosecution.

The Diocese of Greensburg’s investigation found the allegations against Payer to be credible, and he was added to the 2018 list of Clergy Credibly Accused of Sexual Abuse of a Minor.

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.

Contact us at (888) 283-9922 or adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com to discuss your legal options today.

Statement of Adam Horowitz on Retirement of Msgr. Michael Matusak (Greensburg)

Statement of Adam Horowitz, attorney for a second woman accusing Msgr. Michael Matusak of sexual abuse:

On June 12, 2019, the Diocese of Greensburg announced the voluntary retirement of Msgr. Michael Matusak, a priest accused of sexually abusing a minor child, as detailed in media reports.  The Diocese says that Matusak’s age – not the allegation of abuse – is what led to his retirement, even though he should have been stripped of his faculties and title long ago after the Diocese determined that the allegation was credible in 2018.

But why didn’t Bishop Malesic tell the public that there is at least one more allegation of sexual abuse against Matusak?  Earlier this year, the Diocese was made aware of a second claim of abuse by a woman who says that she was sexually abused by Matusak from 1973 to 1976 while he was a deacon preparing for his ordination at St. Hedwig in Smock, and continuing after Matusak’s ordination as a priest.  The woman also says that Matusak stalked and harassed her for nearly 20 more years, even telling her that he would leave the priesthood for her.

Withholding this kind of information from the public is misleading and dangerous.  It undermines the credibility of the woman whose allegation was identified in the grand jury report by continuing to present it as a “he-said, she-said,” when there is additional evidence to suggest that Matusak is a danger to children.  This is another example of America’s bishops failing at their promises of transparency and openness – and the importance of the public and the media in holding them accountable. Public safety depends upon it and survivors deserve better.

Adam Horowitz is a nationally-recognized advocate for survivors of sexual assault and abuse.  Though based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, he has represented victims and survivors of abuse nationwide for nearly two decades. In 2018, he obtained a jury verdict of more than $70M for a woman raped on a luxury yacht in South Florida.  He has been quoted by hundreds of media outlets worldwide.

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 Greensburg area now have legal options to recover damages due to a compensation fund created for victims.  Contact us at (954) 641-2100 – or toll-free at (888) 283-9922- or adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com today.

Fr. Andrew Kawecki – Diocese of Greensburg

Father Andrew Kawecki

Diocese of Greensburg

Andrew Kawecki Diocese of Greensburg Horowitz Law

Ordained: 1980

Removed: 2019

Assignment History:

  • Church of the Resurrection
  • St. John the Baptist (Scottdale, PA)
  • St. Joseph (Everson, PA)
  • St. Cyril and Methodius Church (Fairchance, PA)

Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations against Fr. Andrew Kawecki:

Fr. Andrew Kawecki was ordained a priest in 1980, who served in multiple parishes in the Diocese of Greensburg. According to media reports, in mid-May 2019, the Diocese of Greensburg announced that it suspended Fr. Andrew Kawecki, following an allegation of sexual abuse that was reported to Pennsylvania’s ChildLine. The Diocese released little information about the allegation except to say that the alleged abuse occurred in approximately 2004. Kawecki was identified in the state’s grand jury report on clergy sexual abuse in 2018 but wasn’t named. He served 15 different parishes in the Diocese of Greensburg from 1980 to 2019.

At the time of his removal, Kawecki was assigned to St. John the Baptist in Scottsdale (Pastor) and St. Joseph in Everson (Administrator). He previously served as Pastor of the Church of the Resurrection, which serves Ernest, Clymer, Glen Campbell, Heilwood, and Rossiter in northern Indiana County.

In August 2020, new allegations came to light against Fr. Kawecki. The victim claims he was sexually assaulted when he was an altar boy at St. Cyril & Methodius Parish in Fairchance, Fayette County, from 2004 to 2007, beginning when he was 11 years old. The alleged victim told investigators that Fr. Kawecki instructed him to arrive early for altar duty and often had him stay late. It was during those times the alleged abuse occurred, according to the affidavit. The victim claims the priest required the boy to masturbate him, and that one time he forced the boy to perform oral sex on him, according to the affidavit.

Fr. Kawecki surrendered to agents of the office of Attorney General Josh Shapiro in Fayette County, where the alleged offenses occurred, according to the office. He is being charged with involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, corruption of minors, and two counts of indecent assault.

In October 2021, Fr. Kawecki pleaded no contest to sexually assaulting an altar boy in Fayette County. In March 2022, Andrew Kawecki was ordered to spend 2 1/2 to 5 years in prison. After he’s released from prison, Kawecki will be required to register as a sex offender.

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.

Contact us at (888) 283-9922 or adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com to discuss your legal options today.

Diocese of Greensburg logo

Time is Running Out to File Your Claim Against the Diocese of Greensburg

The deadline for survivors of clergy sexual abuse to file their claims with the Diocese of Greensburg’s Survivor Compensation Program (SCP) is rapidly approaching.  All claims must be filed by Tuesday, May 28, 2019.

Anyone sexually abused as a child by a clergy member in the Diocese of Greensburg is eligible to receive compensation from the SCP regardless of how many years ago the abuse occurred.  This includes anyone hurt by religious order priests and visiting priests. This opens the fund to a broader group of claimants than similar funds in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

The SCP is administered by a neutral third party, meaning that each claim is evaluated independently by a mediation firm, not by the Diocese of Greensburg itself, to determine the appropriate compensation for victims. The claims are generally resolved on a timeline that is much shorter than traditional litigation, and the process is completely confidential.  

The voluntary settlement fund is currently the only vehicle for most survivors of sexual abuse to take action against the Diocese of Greensburg for what happened to them as children.  Pennsylvania’s restrictive statute of limitations makes filing a lawsuit impossible in most cases.

Once the fund closes, most survivors of sexual abuse in the Diocese of Greensburg will have no other legal recourse, absent a major change in Pennsylvania’s statutes of limitations.  Due to the significant amount of time required to prepare the claims form, it is important to contact an attorney right away to begin the claims process.

The deadline for filing claims with the SCP is May 28, 2019, so if you are a survivor of clergy sexual abuse in the Diocese of Greensburg, please contact us now to discuss your options.  You can reach us at (954) 641-2100 or at adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com.  

Fr. Charles Weber, O.S.B. – Diocese of Greensburg

Father Charles Weber, O.S.B.

Diocese of Greensburg

Charles Weber, O.S.B. Diocese of Greensburg Horowitz Law

Ordained: 1945

Retired: 1994

Died: 2000

Assigned as follows:

  • 1939:  Saint Vincent Archabbey
  • 1940 – 1945:  Saint Vincent Preparatory School & Saint Vincent College
  • 1945 – 1994:  Saint Mary Church in Erie & Saint Cecilia Church in Whitney

Summary of Sexual Allegations against Fr. Charles Weber, O.S.B.:

Fr. Charles Weber was ordained a Benedictine priest in 1945, who served in multiple parishes in the Diocese of Greensburg. According to media reports, in 2018, he was first named publicly as accused in the PA Grand Jury report. The report revealed the only public allegation of sexual misconduct against Fr. Weber was made in 2015. An anonymous victim approached the Diocese of Greensburg alleging that in the early 1980s, while Fr. Weber taught at St. Gertrude Church in Vandergrift, he instructed a room full of 11 to 13 year-olds on the distinct meaning of “impure thoughts and actions.” After the class ended, the victim was left alone with Fr. Weber and was asked if the victim understood the meaning of the lesson. According to the victim’s report to the Diocese, Weber chose this moment to fondle the child’s genitals as they talked.

Fr. Charles Weber died in 2000 as a priest in good standing.

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.

Contact us at (888) 283-9922 or adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com to discuss your legal options today.

Fr. Mark Gruber, O.S.B. – Diocese of Greensburg

Father Mark Gruber

Diocese of Greensburg (Benedictine)

Mark Gruber Diocese of Greensburg Horowitz Law

Ordained: 1987

Laicized: 2013

Assigned as Follows:

  • Saint Vincent College (Latrobe, PA)

Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations against Fr. Mark Gruber:

Fr. Mark Gruber was ordained a Benedictine priest in 1987, who served in multiple parishes in the Diocese of Greensburg. According to media reports, the allegations against him concerned the Vatican to the degree of ordering the former Benedictine monk to leave St. Vincent Archabbey in Latrobe and relieved him of his monastic vows for spreading rumors about Archabbot Douglas Nowicki, the leader of the Benedictine community in Unity. He then disobeyed orders to report to a treatment facility in Missouri, which resulted in his involuntary laicization.  According to the Archabbey, Gruber was said to have intimidated a junior monk into falsely alleging sexual misconduct against Nowicki in retaliation for the Order’s response to what it thought was child pornography downloaded onto Gruber’s computer. According to various news sources, the case unfolded as follows:

In 2009, Gruber, a tenured professor of Sociology and Anthropology at St. Vincent College, was suspended from teaching following a state police investigation into allegations that he possessed child pornography. Gruber was not charged with any crime; however, pornographic images, including inappropriate depictions of himself as well as photographs of young-looking men, was discovered on Gruber’s computer.  He had also visited Russian and Eastern European websites that were known to distribute child pornography, but there was no evidence that he downloaded any. Police ultimately determined that the men in the photos were likely over the age of 18, so no crime had been committed, at least as far as they could determine from the partially-wiped hard drive.

However, given the nature of the photographs, Church leaders determined that he had violated Canon Law and sought guidance from the Vatican.  He was ordered to cease ministry and report to a monastery. The Diocese of Greensburg revoked Gruber’s faculties to perform ministry functions.  

In response to the actions taken against him by the Diocese of Greensburg and the Benedictines, Gruber initiated a libel suit against the Bishop of Greensburg, the Archabbot and college officials. He quickly withdrew this lawsuit. The Archabbey released a statement claiming, “the evidence against Rev. Gruber was judged to be irrefutable.” In fact, during its internal proceedings, the Vatican said that Gruber was guilty of possessing child pornography.

According to Diocese records, “The Congregation [Vatican] found him guilty of the more grave delict of possession of child pornography, the crime of the production of materials which gravely injure good morals, the abuse of the Sacrament of Confession with the aggravating factor of the manipulation of conscience, and the defamation of a legitimate superior.” In retaliation for his removal from the college, Gruber allegedly conducted a smear campaign against Archabbot Nowicki by coercing a junior Monk to allege sexual misconduct against Nowicki – Gruber’s religious superior – in a signed affidavit.  The junior monk later recanted and said he was pressured by Gruber to sign it.

In 2012, an anonymous student came forward claiming he was the one who downloaded the pornography onto Gruber’s computer, not Gruber. He had allegedly claimed ownership of the act through confession with Gruber, a confession Gruber did not reveal in his own defense. The student claimed Gruber was a good Father who kept sacred the act of confession even in the face of losing his job and ruining his reputation. Father Gruber maintains that the young man’s sworn statement should have led to the reinstatement of his position last year.

On July 29, 2013, after refusing to abide by the first directive that he report to a treatment facility and cease all ministry, Gruber was involuntarily laicized.  The Archabbey provided financial assistance and healthcare benefits for a designated period to assist Gruber’s transition from the cloth.

There are no public allegations that Gruber engaged in sexual misconduct with minor children in the Diocese of Greensburg.

According to his Facebook page, Gruber is currently residing in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Many of his “friends” continue to refer to him as “Father Mark” even though he is no longer a priest.   

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.

Contact us at (888) 283-9922 or adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com to discuss your legal options today.

Fr. Francis Lesniak – Diocese of Greensburg

Father Francis Lesniak

Diocese of Greensburg

Francis Lesniak Diocese of Greensburg Horowitz Law

Ordained: 1943

Retired: 1976

Died: 1991

Assigned as follows:

  • 1943-1946: St. Monica (Wampum, PA) and  St. Theresa (Hoytdale, PA)
  • 1946-1953: St. Mary (New Kensington, PA)
  • 1953-1953: St. Bernard (Indiana, PA)
  • 1953-1954: Transfiguration Church (Mount Pleasant, PA)
  • 1954-1956: St. Mary (New Kensington, PA)
  • 1956-1960: St. Michael (Glen Campbell, PA)/Ss. Peter & Paul (Arcadia, PA)
  • 1960-1965: St. Stanislaus (Calmut, PA)
  • 1965-1969: St. Anne (Fellsburg, PA) and Holy Cross (Webster, PA)
  • 1969-1976: Seven Dolors (Yukon, PA)
  • 1976-1987: St. Francis of Paola (Ford City, PA)

Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations against Fr. Francis Lesniak:

Fr. Francis Lesniak was ordained a priest in 1943, 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 the Diocese of Greensburg received the first complaint of abuse by Father Francis Lesniak in 2004. Allegations were made post-death. Lesniak was alleged to have sexually abused multiple minors in the 1960s and 70s.

Four victims accused Lesniak of molesting and/or raping them from 1962 through the late 1980s at parishes in Mt. Pleasant to Ford City. Incidents reportedly occurred during overnights for altar boys and at a picnic for a first Holy Communion. The abuse began with fondling and escalated to anal rape. Alcohol was also given to the victims on many occasions, with the fourth victim drinking ‘whole large containers full of wine.’

One victim stated that after confession, Lesniak would expose himself and tell the child it was his “strawberry lollipop.” This abuse occurred well over 100 times over the course of approximately four years.

Lesniak retired as a priest in good standing in 1987. He died in 1991.

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.

Contact us at (888) 283-9922 or adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com to discuss your legal options today.

Fr. Charles Guth – Diocese of Greensburg

Father Charles Guth

Diocese of Greensburg

Charles Guth Diocese of Greensburg Horowitz Law

Ordained: 1924

Retired: 1973

Died: 1986

Assigned as follows:

  • 7/1924: St. Peter, N.S.  (Pittsburgh, PA)
  • 4/1925: St. Andrews, N.S.  (Pittsburgh, PA)
  • 3/1926:  St. Joseph  (Braddock, PA)
  • 8/1928:  St. Bernard (Dormont, PA)
  • 1/1929: St. Ambrose (Pittsburgh, PA)
  • 1/1932: St. Wendelin (Carrick, PA)
  • 7/1932: Presentation  (Midland, PA)
  • 5/1935: St. Mary (McKees Rocks, PA)
  • 6/1935: St. James (Pittsburgh, PA)
  • 10/1942: St. Mary (Parkers Landing, PA) and Mission, St James (Petrolia, PA)
  • 8/1944: Holy Family (West Newton, PA)
  • 11/1962: St. Mary (Kittanning, PA)

Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations against Fr. Charles Guth:

Fr. Charles Guth was ordained a priest in 1924, who served in multiple parishes in the Diocese of Greensburg. According to media reports, in 2018, he was first named publicly as accused in the PA Grand Jury report. It revealed he is accused of sexually abusing an underage boy in the 1950s. The victim, as an adult, reported in 2005 that Guth molested him around age 7 when the priest was assigned to Holy Family in West Newton. The man says that he went to Guth concerned for his mother’s soul after a Sunday school teacher said people who miss Mass go to Hell. Guth molested the boy, gave him a nickel and told him that both he and his mother would go to Hell and burn if he told anyone what had happened.

Guth retired in 1973 as a priest in good standing.  He died in 1986.

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.

Contact us at (888) 283-9922 or adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com to discuss your legal options today.

Fr. Leonard Sanesi – Diocese of Greensburg

Father Leonard Sanesi

Diocese of Greensburg

Leonard Sanesi Diocese of Greensburg Horowitz Law

Ordained: 1953

Died: 1992

Assigned as follows:

  • 1953 – 1955: St. Rita (Connellsville, PA)
  • 1955 – 1958: St. Cajetan (Monessen, PA)
  • 1958 – 1962: Immaculate Conception (Irwin, PA)
  • 1962 – 1966: St. Joseph Minor Seminary (Greensburg, PA)
  • 1966 – 1974: Holy Family (West Newton, PA)
  • 1974 – 1983: Immaculate Conception (Irwin, PA)
  • 1983 – 1990: Mount St. Peter (New Kensington, PA)
  • 1990 – 1992: All Saints (Arnold, PA)

Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations against Fr. Leonard Sanesi:

Fr. Leonard Sanesi was ordained a priest in 1953, who served in multiple parishes in the Diocese of Greensburg. According to media reports, in 2018, he was first named publicly as accused in the PA Grand Jury report. It revealed the first allegation of sexual abuse against him was reported to the Diocese of Greensburg in 2002. A man claimed that during the early 1960s, while Sanesi served at St. Joseph’s Minor Seminary, a school for boys with a potential future in the cloth, Sanesi sexually abused him. The victim in question had a skin condition that required the frequent application of creams and ointments, and Sanesi exploited that by “helping” the boy apply them on his hard-to-reach areas.  He says that Sanesi escalated the contact into seuxal abuse.

A second victim came forward in 2013, alleging that Sanesi sexually abused him also while he attended St. Joseph Seminary in 1962. According to the victim, Sanesi occasionally entered the victim’s dormitory in an attempt to fondle the victim’s genitals. He also reported an instance where he became ill and Sanesi cared for him. Sanesi took advantage of the illness and brought the victim to his private living space. Sanesi provided the victim with alcohol and attempted to fondle him yet again.

Sanesi died in 1992 in active ministry.  

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.

Contact us at (888) 283-9922 or adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com to discuss your legal options today.

Fr. Henry Marcinek – Diocese of Greensburg

Father Henry Marcinek

Diocese of Greensburg

Henry Marcinek Diocese of Greensburg Horowitz Law

Ordained: 1956

Retired: 1985

Died: 1987

Assigned as follows:

  • 1956 – 1957: Holy Name (Monessen, PA)
  • 1957 – 1958: SS Cyril & Methodius (Fairchance, PA)
  • 1958 – 1960: Holy Trinity (Ford City, PA)
  • 1960 – 1965: Holy Rosary Church (Republic, PA)
  • 1965 – 1967: St. Mary Church (Uniontown, PA)
  • 1967 – 1970: St. Elizabeth Church (Starford, PA); Sacred Heart (Dixonville, PA)
  • 1970 – 1973: Holy Rosary Church (Republic, PA)
  • 1973 – 1982: Holy Cross (Youngwood and St. Gilbert Church (Hunker, PA)
  • 1982 – 1985: St. Pius X (Mt. Pleasant, PA)

Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations against Fr. Henry Marcinek:

Fr. Henry Marcinek was ordained a priest in 1956, who served in multiple parishes in the Diocese of Greensburg. According to media reports, in 2018, he was first named publicly as accused in the PA Grand Jury report. It revealed in 2007, a 45-year-old man reported that Father Henry Marcinek sexually assaulted him for over a decade, starting in approximately 1972.   He said the abuse began at the age of 10 during the victim’s time at Holy Rosary grammar school, and that it continued for more than 8 years. He was one of Marcinek’s altar boys, and was often asked to “help” around the rectory so that Marinek could have time alone with him.  Soon, he was accompanying Marcinek to his cabin or on other trips when the boy was forced to share a bed with the priest.

In response to the allegation, the Diocese of Greensburg paid the man $10,000.00 and gave him 90 counseling sessions.

Marcinek died in 1987 as a retired priest in good standing.

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.

Contact us at (888) 283-9922 or adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com to discuss your legal options today.