Father Robert J. Castelucci
Diocese of Pittsburgh
Leave of Absence: 1994-1999
Assigned as Follows:
- 5/27/1964-3/07/1965 – St. Rosalia (Greenfield, PA)
- 5/08/1965-5/21/1973 – St. Joseph (Coraopolis, PA)
- 5/08/1965-5/21/1973 – St. Martha (Groveton, PA)
- 5/22/1973-5/29/1974 – St. Patrick (Canonsburg, PA)
- 5/30/1974-6/29/1981 – St. Mary of Mt. Carmel (Braddock, PA)
- 6/30/1981-12/09/1994 – St. Lawrence (Hillsville, PA)
- 12/09/1994-7/27/1999 – Leave of Absence
- 7/28/1999-3/25/2002 – Administrative Leave
- 3/25/2002 – Withdrew from active ministry
Summary of Allegations Against Father Robert J. Castelucci:
According to documents reviewed by the grand jury, Father Robert J. Castelucci was accused of sexual misconduct by several different victims. Based on one victim’s accurate description of Castelucci’s anatomy, the Diocese of Pittsburgh deemed the accusations against him to be credible.
Six main victims contacted Diocese officials. Rita Flaherty, Diocesan Assistance Coordinator, in addition to Fathers David Zubik, Joesph Karabin, and Robert Guay, met with the first victim in 1994. The victim described being molested by Castelucci in his car and in the rectory at St. Mary’s. He said that Father Robert Castelucci would give him money and cigarettes in this “troubled” time in his youth. The molestation included oral sex, masturbation, and an attempt at anal sex.
This first victim reached out to Castelucci shortly before this meeting in an effort to speak with him about the abuse. In his letter, he mentioned being 13 or 14 years old and being taken to “masturbation parties” and later being offered money. In a 2005 letter from Bishop David Wuerl to the Vatican, Wuerl said that Castelucci told the victim that he didn’t want the diocesan officials involved and that he would not have become sexually involved with the victim if he had known it would cause the victim so much trouble. He added that the victim was “a messed up young man already when he had met him.”
The victim knew details about Castelucci’s anatomy that led the Diocese of Pittsburgh to accept these accusations as credible. The Diocese did not go to law enforcement and the victim, along with 32 others, filed a civil lawsuit that resulted in a $1.25 million settlement in 2007. The victim signed a “Settlement Agreement and Release” document and the Diocese of Pittsburgh also sent checks to the victim’s therapist.
The second victim was a younger brother of the first victim. He was approximately 8 years old at the time, so the abuse is suspected to have occurred around 1978. There is no further information about the nature of the abuse and this victim also signed a “Settlement Agreement and Release” in 2007.
Father Robert J. Castelucci was sent to St. Luke Institute, a notorious treatment facility for pedophile priests located in Suitland, Maryland, for a psychological evaluation in October of 1994. The institute recommended he undergo an evaluation to determine to what degree his actions were related to attraction to adolescents. A 1996 letter from Bishop Wuerl stated that Castelucci refused the recommended treatment and instead asked for a leave of absence to care for his ill mother. Castelucci extended this leave of absence 3 times. His request for early retirement in 1999 was denied.
The third victim lived in Ohio, where Castelucci had been taking care of his mother. The victim was 17 when Castelucci is alleged to have given him a pornographic film and given him oral sex. At this time, Castelucci was placed on administrative leave. Ohio authorities did not press charges, and efforts by the Diocese of Pittsburgh to reach the victim’s family concerning counseling were met with no response.
A 2002 memorandum revealed the fourth victim. The victim had played the organ at St. Mary as a 17-year-old in 1974. He said that Father Robert Castelucci was “touchy feely” with him and had tried to kiss him. He would also put his hands down the victim’s pants after coming up to him from behind and grabbing him. He also offered him alcohol and gave him oral sex after touching and rubbing his body. This sort of abuse was on and off through the years when the victim worked at Mt. Carmel until 1977. When the victim asked for the behavior to stop, Father Castelucci made it clear that these sexual activities were expected as part of his employment. This victim also mentioned another young man who had lived with Castelucci in the rectory until he moved out because he wanted the sexual contact to end. Father Leo Burchianti was also mentioned in this victim’s reports. Officials of the Diocese of Pittsburgh offered counseling, but the victim did not want it.
The accusations of the fourth victim led to a meeting between 2002 Castelucci and Diocesan officials. The officials told him it would be best for him to withdraw from the ministry voluntarily. Castelucci sent a resignation letter and a letter denying everything he was accused of to Bishop Wuerl.
A fifth victim came forward in 2002. He recalled being asked to spend the night with Castelucci in the rectory in the 1970s when he was an altar boy, and his mother encouraged this because she thought the priest would be a good role model. The boy had heard peers talk about Castelucci’s dirty movies. When the victim asked Castelucci about the movies, the priest said he would have to touch the boy in a “dirty” place in order to let him watch the movies. The victim refused. In the rectory, while the boy was sleeping, Castelucci masturbated the young boy, then around 12 or 13 years of age. The Diocese of Pittsburgh helped this victim pay for therapy.
A sixth victim came forward in 2011 and reported that in the late 1970s, when the boy was 15 or 16 years old, Castelucci had taken him to see an X-rated film. The Diocese of Pittsburgh also provided this victim with aid for counseling, and this victim’s name appeared on an accusation sent to the Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office in late 2012.
Castelluci is still living and is believed to be residing in the Enon Valley, Pennsylvania, area. He is 80 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 firstname.lastname@example.org today.