Super Lawyers
Illinois State Bar Association
Justia Lawyer Rating
Million Dollar Advocates Forum
Avvo Rating
BBB Accredited Business

Erie Clergy Sexual Abuse Attorneys

Erie-Diocese-Clergy-Abuse-LawyersMany people are drawn to the Roman Catholic Church because of its strong values, offers of forgiveness, and direction through life using spirituality and faith. Unfortunately, many religious leaders and members of the clergy use this power of authority over others to harm them through sexual abuse, molestation, and rape.

In Pennsylvania, nearly 600 predatory priests have been accused of sexually assaulting innocent children and vulnerable adults for decades. While some of these clergy abusers have been held accountable, most predators were never removed from ministry or died before the accusations arose.

In recent years, many states, including Pennsylvania, have extended their two-year window lawsuit filing laws on the statute of limitations to provide more time for victims to seek compensation. The changes to the state constitution by the general assembly was necessary. The grand jury reports and Attorney General offices revealed that the Catholic Church had been hiding evidence of sexual abusers for years. The efforts of Church officials helped to protect the predator at the expense of the victim.

Erie Diocese Sexual Abuse Attorney

All survivors of sexual abuse deserve to have their voices heard. Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC has provided legal assistance to victims of sexual assault victims for years. We use federal law and Pennsylvania statutes to pursue civil actions through lawsuits to help victims seeking justice. After listening to our clients’ horrific stories of the abuse, we provide legal advice and counseling on how to proceed to resolve their cases successfully.

A clergy abuse lawyer with our legal team handles sexual assault cases involving religious institutions, youth organizations, health care providers, schools, and academies. Some of our cases involve sexual assault, child pornography, rape, sodomy, and non-consensual oral sex.

Sexual molestation by the clergy is abhorrent and often leaves lifelong scars and severe consequences for the health and well-being of the victim. The molestation is a betrayal of the trust built between the religious leader and victim who turned to the Church for religious counseling and comfort. Religious leaders victimized some of our clients at Church, summer camp, youth support events, academies, and private and public schools.

Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report Affects Erie Diocese Parishioners

In 2018, a Pennsylvania grand jury investigation released a report identifying the names of over 300 clergy members with credible allegations of sexually abusing a minor or young adult. In a press conference in April 2019, Bishop Persico of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Erie responded to the grand jury report by releasing a public disclosure list. The list identified priests, lay teachers, and lay employees accused of sexual molestation. That month, the Diocese added five more names to the existing list of eighty-one predators who sexually assaulted victims in the congregation.

Some names on the list had credible accusations that disqualified them from working with children. Some of those cases involved exposing minors to pornography, possessing child porn, corrupting minors, failing to prevent abuse, the not following Diocese’s child protection policies.

Victim Assistance

The Roman Catholic Church, guided by the Vatican and Pope Francis, provides victim assistance for survivors of abuse. The Catholic Diocese of Erie gives aid to victims of clergy abuse to ensure they receive spiritual direction and counseling or any other necessary supportive service for healing. The Victim Assistance Coordinator provides the service in each local eparchy or Diocese.

Most Pennsylvania dioceses, and the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, have created an independent survivors’ reparation program. This compensation program ensures that Diocese parishioners abused by clergy members have access to compensation funds.

Erie Bishop Persico encourages victims to come forward and report sexual assault or suspected child abuse. The Church provides services for the protection of vulnerable adults and children.

Catholic Bishop Abuse Reporting Service

The Diocese also provides an online service to report sexual abuse by a bishop. The Catholic Bishop Abuse Reporting service maintains information on the bishops in the United States accused of sexual misconduct.

Bishops who served the Roman Catholic Diocese of Erie in recent decades include Bishop John Whealon, Bishop Alfred Watson, Bishop Michael Murphy, and Bishop Donald Trautman.

Persico Settles Suit for $2M to Resolve Sexual Assault Case

In early 2019, the Diocese of Erie agreed to a negotiated $2 million out of court settlement to resolve the case between a victim and Reverend David Poulson. The plaintiff alleges that Father Polson had sexually assaulted him when he was a young boy.

Indicators of Child Sexual Assault

Statistics reveal that one of every four females and seven of ten males eighteen years or younger have been sexually assaulted. Over 90% of all child abuse survivors knew their predator when the sexual molestation occurred. About 40% of all child abuse survivors experience difficulties when building relationships with family, friends, partners, and at work.

Not all the indicators of sexual molestation are apparent. Many times, the assaulter uses fear and intimidation tactics to ensure the victim remains silent. However, the abused victim’s friends and family must look for indicators that their loved one has been sexually assaulted. These indicators include unexplained bruises and bleeding, and emotional scars that often change the victim’s behaviors. Some of the signs of abuse include:

  • Fear of the dark, being alone, or experiencing nightmares
  • Unexplained changes in the victim’s eating habits and not wanting to eat, a decreased appetite, or challenges with swallowing
  • Teens, preteens or older toddlers wetting the bed
  • Simulating or drawing pictures of sexual activity
  • Nonstop talking about sex
  • Not want to take clothing off to change or bathe
  • Unexplained worry or fear
  • Apparent displays of insecurity or withdrawal
  • Describing their body as dirty, immoral, or repulsive
  • Fear when around particular individuals

Victims of sexual abuse, especially those abused during childhood years, are left with lifelong emotional scars. In the aftermath, the victim may have lasting depression and ongoing anxiety, suicidal thoughts, post-traumatic stress disorder behaviors, alcoholism, excessive smoking, sex addiction, or other health condition.

Hiring a Roman Catholic Diocese Erie Sexual Abuse Attorney

Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC has provided its clients with over $250 million in compensation recovered through negotiated settlements and trial awards. We can help you too. If you are the victim of child sex abuse by a clergy member, let a Pennsylvania sexual assault attorney help. Begin a new pathway to healing by contacting us today to schedule a no-obligation free consultation in a confidential setting. Let us discuss your legal options to file a civil lawsuit to hold the predator accountable.

We handle all cases through contingency fee arrangements. This agreement provides immediate legal action services without the need for an upfront fee. We are paid only after we have secured financial compensation on your behalf from a settlement or award.

Our law firm accepts clergy sexual abuse cases where the predator remains in active ministry, has been removed from the Church, on administrative leave, is retired, or dead.

List of Priest & Bishops Accused of Abuse in Catholic Diocese of Erie

Amy, Michael J.

Ordained: 1978

In 2018, Bishop Perisco of the Diocese of Erie released a list of thirty-four priests with credible accusations of sexual abuse against them, including Reverend Amy. At that time, the priest was removed from ministry and later voluntarily resigned.

Current Status: Laicized

Anderson, Steven A.

Ordained: 1979

In April 2019, the Diocese of Erie credibly accused Reverend Anderson of sexual abuse of children after the priest died. The allegation was corroborated by self-admission, canon law proceedings, or secular legal proceedings.

Current Status: Died 2013

Barletta, Michael G.

Ordained: 1966

In 2002, three male victims told the Church that Father Barletta sexually molested them when the priest was a Cathedral prep geology teacher between the 1970s and early 1980s. One victim stated he had told the Bishop in 1994 what happened. Barletta was reassigned to St. Patrick’s/saint had waits parish as a chaplain. The priest admitted he had abuse twenty-five children and young men between 1975 and 1994.

Current Status: Removed from ministry 2003

Bolton, Donald

Ordained: 1952

Parents of a seven-year-old girl filed a complaint in 1986 claiming that the priest molested their daughter. Reverend Bolton was charged with the corruption of minors and indecent assault and sentenced to probation. Other victims came forward and negotiated out-of-court settlements.

Current Status: Deceased

Bower, Robert F.

Ordained: 1959

A seventh-grader found child pornography photographs collected by Reverend Bower in 1981 while providing janitorial services. The Church fired the witness’s mother, who had worked for the diocese for four years. The priest was arrested in 1999.

Current Status: Retired from the ministry in the early 2000s Lives on the Edinboro University Campus

Chludzinski, Dennis C.

Ordained: 1976

The PA Grand Jury found sufficient evidence that Reverend Chludzinski had inappropriate sexual contact with an 18-year-old boy that occurred in 1984 and possibly 1985.

Current Status: Laicized and living in the Diocese of Erie

Ciufoli, Bonaventure M.

Ordained: Prior to 1951

The PA Grand Jury found sufficient evidence involving volunteers and lay employees accusing Reverend Ciufoli of sexually abusing minors.

Current Status: Returned to Italy and died in 1997

Cooper, Donald J.

Ordained: 1963

In 2005, the Diocese of Erie confirmed that a 40-year-old man was subjected to inappropriate sexual contact by Father Cooper between 1981 and 1982 when he was sixteen years old. The Reverend agreed to retire. The church paid for the victim’s past and future therapy.

Current Status: Died 12/2011

Cray, Kevin

Ordained: 1949

The diocese found credible evidence years after the priest’s death into allegations of sexual abuse.

Current Status: Died 1999

Daly, Matthew G.

Ordained: 1955

The diocese found credible evidence years after Monsignor’s Daly death that he participated in inappropriate sexual behavior with a minor.

Current Status: Died 10/1982

Dobrowolski, David V.

Ordained: 1969

The diocese found credible evidence years after the priest’s death that he participated in inappropriate sexual behavior with a minor.

Current Status: Died 12/1985

Furjanic, Gregory P.

Ordained: 1981

Accusations were made against Father Furjanic in 2005, relating to inappropriate sexual contact in the mid-1980s. The church removed the priest from ministry in 1996. During an investigation, it was revealed that one of the priest’s victims took his own life.

Current Status: Laicized

Gawronski, Chester J.

Ordained: 1976

In 2003, Reverend Gawronski admitted to molesting up to forty-one boys years earlier. A report indicates that the reverend sexually abused the boys while showing them how to “perform a cancer check.”

Current Status: Remove from the Ministry Currently Living in Arizona

Gloekler, Herbert G.

Ordained: 1949

In April 2002, a female victim accused Father Gloekler of sexually abusing her in the 1950s while she was a Sacred Heart School Student. A second victim came forward the following month, claiming he also abused her in the 1950s. One victim alleged that Gloelker raped her when she was a child. In August 2003, a former housekeeper who had worked at Mount Calvary Parish stated she was aware of the priest’s inappropriate sexual conduct in the 1970s through the 1980s.

Current Status: Died 1985

Haney, Robert E.

Ordained: 1954

The church determined that Reverend Haney abused children in every diocese he was assigned across numerous states between 1962 and 1978. Eight victims came forward in the Erie diocese, including one female. However, the priest denied ever having abused any female, stating, “they do not have a penis.” The diocese determined Hannon was forbidden to function as a priest.

Current Status: Died 1/2006

Healy, Patrick J.

Ordained: 1986

The diocese found credible evidence years after the priest’s death that he participated in inappropriate sexual behavior with a minor

Current Status: Died 6/1999

Hopkins, James P. or F.

Ordained: 1900

The diocese found credible evidence years after Monsignor Hopkins’s death that he participated in inappropriate sexual behavior with a minor. The diocese received communication in 1993 from a victim stating that when she was 13 years of age, in 1945, the Monsignor abused her at the Saint Titus rectory, including fondling her “wherever he pleased.”

Current Status: Died 1957

Hudock, Barry M.

Ordained: 1996

The diocese claimed that Fater Hudock engaged in inappropriate sexual contact with an underage female Mercyhurst Preparatory High School student during her junior year in 1996 when he was 27 years old. Inappropriate sexual behavior occurred at various locations and in different states. The victim came forward in 2008 with psychological issues due to the priest’s victimization. Hudock is now married and living in Syracuse, New York, with his wife and children.

Current Status: Permanently removed from Priesthood Laicized: 2018

Jerge, Joseph W.

Ordained: 1951

In early 1989, sexual abuse allegations arose against the priest, who was ordered to attend sexual, psychological therapy and was restricted from contact with young boys. Two years later, the priest was placed back into ministry and reassigned to St. John’s the Evangelist. Other victims came forward until 1992 when church officials ordered Jerge not to function as a Priest.

Current Status: Died 4/2006

Jeselnick, Stephen E.

Ordained: 1977

Allegations involving the priest arose concerning unwanted sexual contact involving a 20-year-old man. The victim filed suit against the Erie Diocese and Jeselnick. The case settled out of court for $25,000. Other victims came forward including brothers who were sexually assaulted in Meadville, Pennsylvania, in the late 1970s. Jeselnick denied the accusations. Church officials have since ordered him not to function as a priest.

Current Status: Unknown

Jungquist, Edward W.

Ordained: 1980

In 2018, the priest’s name was included on the Erie diocese list involving credible accusations involving sexual abuse with minors. Church officials state that Reverend Jungquist is forbidden to function as a priest. Likely living in Tucson, Arizona.

Current Status: Whereabouts Unknown

Kaza, Charles A.

Ordained: 1972

In May 2019, the diocese placed Monsignor Charles Kaza on administrative leave, pending an investigation involving allegations of sexual abuse with a minor. The incident was alleged to have occurred during the 1980s while Kaza was serving at St. John the Baptist Parish (Erie). The Monsignor has been restricted from active ministry.

Current Status: Restricted from Active ministry

Kelly, Thomas C.

Ordained: 1967

The 2018 Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report found credible evidence that Reverend Thomas Kelly had inappropriate sexual contact with five or more males. The victims were both seminary and high school students ranging in age between 18 and 25. Before his death, church officials informed Kelley he was forbidden to function as a priest.

Current Status: Died 2/2005

Kerins, Sean P.

Ordained: 2017

In 2018, the diocese announced that 27-year-old Reverend Sean Kerins of Kennedy Catholic High School in Hermitage was removed from service as a chaplain and “prohibited from any public ministry, as not allowed contact with minors.” Evidence revealed that the priest “allegedly inappropriately texted a student that went against the school and diocesan policies. Law enforcement has begun an investigation.

Current Status: Placed on permanent leave

Ketcham, Gary L.

Ordained: 1977

The priest was named in the 2018 Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report involving clergy sexual abuse. The priest had been convicted in 1990 of molesting two boys during a visit with friends in Alabama. The Church sent the priest to therapy after the incident and paid his attorney fees. Ketcham pled guilty on both counts, received a permanent felony record and paid a $15,000 fine.

Current Status: Laicized 2002

Kondzielski, Thaddeus T.

Ordained: 1967

In 2013, a victim contacted the diocese over alleged sexual abuse occurring between the priest and him three decades earlier when the male student was a sophomore at Cathedral Preparatory. The priest asked the victim to lift weights while they were both naked. The parents heard the story and told him to stay away from the priest. Reverend Kondzielski admitted to having students sleep overnight in his bed with him.

Current Status: Retired 2013

Kraus, Conrad L.

Ordained: 1967

The diocese found credible evidence years after Monsignor Kraus’s death that he participated in inappropriate sexual behavior with a minor.

Current Status: Died 5/2009

Kreb, Gerard/ Gerald

Ordained: 1963

The diocese found credible evidence years after Reverend Krebs’s death that he participated in inappropriate sexual behavior with at least three victims. In 2002, a former Venango Christian High School student alleged the priest molested him in 1968 when he was a senior. The second report in 2001 accused the priest of abusing a boy in the late 1960s. In 2006, a man alleged that the priest sexually abused him during the 1960s while he was a student and knew other classmates had also been abused. The church sent Krebs to St. Luke’s in Maryland. He retired in 2004.

Current Status: Died 2005

Kucan/Kucon, Jerome/John

Ordained: 1951

The 2018 Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report revealed credible evidence years that Reverend Kucan participated in inappropriate sexual behavior with minors. The investigation revealed a 39-year-old man had reported in March 2005 that the priest sexually abused him at Saint Anthony’s Croatian Church in Sharon when he was eight years old. Another complaint received in 2007 indicated that Father Kucan abused an altar boy and the boy’s cousin at the same church in the mid-1950s. The cousin committed suicide in 1993.

Current Status: Died 12/2010

Lazar, Fidelis G.

Ordained: 1963

In 2018, the diocese released Reverend Lazar’s name among credibly accused priests, volunteers, and laypeople associated with sexual abuse of underage children after his death. In 1986, the diocese received a complaint from a male teenager who claimed that the priest sexually assaulted him that year. Lazar admitted to the inappropriate sexual activity with children, was sent for treatment and placed on leave. A second allegation arose in 1994 from a male teenager stating the priest had sexually abused him during the 1980s. A third victim alleged in 2002 that Lazar abused him in the 1960s at St. Vincent’s Prep School in Latrobe.

Current Status: Died 3/2018

Lechner, Thomas M.

Ordained: 1966

In 2018, the diocese released Reverend Lechner’s name among credibly accused priests, volunteers, and laypeople associated with sexually abusing underage children.

Current Status: Laicized

Lorei, Louis H.

Ordained: 1947

The 2018 Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report found conclusive evidence of sexual abuse involving the former Pastor of Our Lady of Peace in Erie. Credible evidence reported to the diocese in 2009 revealed that Monsignor Lorei sexually abused an eleven-year-old altar boy at the church in the early 1980s for over two years. A second allegation arose in 2007 of past abuse of another boy.

Current Status: Died 1986

Luzzi, Salvatore P.

Ordained: 1962

In 2018, the diocese released Reverend Luzzi’s name among credibly accused priests, volunteers, and laypeople associated with sexual abuse of underage children. Evidence shows that at least eight known male victims in their early 20s and early teens were victims of sexual abuse involving Luzzi. A former student, allegedly victimized by the priest, died by suicide.

Current Status: Ministry faculties removed in 1995

Lynch, Richard D.

Ordained: 1963

The diocese found credible evidence years after the priest’s death that he participated in inappropriate sexual behavior with a minor. The diocese received notice of an allegation involving Lynch of physical and sexual abuse in 1978/79 when the victim was a student at Bradford Central.

Current Status: Died 2000

Martin, Daniel J.

Ordained: 1943

In 2018, a former priest of the diocese of Erie accused Reverend Martin of sexually assaulting him in 1985/89, starting when the victim was sixteen years old and living a troubled life at home. In 1984, Pope John Paul II named Martin a Monsignor and Prelate of Honor. The victim claims that the sexual abuse occurred at St. George’s in Erie when Martin was a pastor and after his 1986 retirement, at Mercyhurst College in Erie and Mount Calvary Church. The victim testified before the PA Grand Jury.

Current Status: Died 5/2006

McGee, Jr., H. Desmond

Ordained: 1971

Reverend McGee served as headmaster of Bradford Central Christian High school in 1997 until suspended due to an investigation into sexual abuse of a child. A lawsuit filed by a twenty-four-year-old man alleges Father McGee abused him at least three times between 1980 and 1989 when the underage boy attended the high school. The priest denied the allegations. Church officials said too much time had passed to pursue the case. The court dismissed the lawsuit in 2017 due to the expiration of the statute of limitations. The church elevated Reverend McGee to Monsignor.

Current Status: Unknown

Meisinger, Joseph F.

Ordained: Prior to 1940

The diocese found credible evidence years after the Reverend Meisinger’s death that he participated in inappropriate sexual behavior with a minor.

Current Status: Died 1979

Muroski, Leon T.

Ordained: 1960

Reverend Muroski’s name was included in the newly-released 2018 Diocese’s list identifying priests accused of sexual misconduct. The priest faced accusations of sexual misconduct in the 1990s while working at St. Mark’s Seminary as a Spiritual Director. The church sent Muroski for treatment at St. Luke’s in Maryland after he had inappropriate contact with seminarians, including a few that were under the priest’s tutelage.

Current Status: Unknown

Murphy, Edmundus

The 2018 Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report found conclusive evidence of sexual abuse involving Reverend Murphy. An allegation arose that in 1964, the priest sexually molested a Sacred Heart High School (Girard) male student while the reverend served at the school as a wrestling coach. The victim stated that the priest made him wrestle naked before sodomizing him.

Current Status: Died 10/2014

Murray, John L.

Ordained: 1947

The diocese first became aware of the initial reports in 1967 of Father Murray sexually abusing young boys the year before. In 1985, the priest pled no contest to charges that he fondled an underage altar boy that year while at Saint Matthew’s in Woods. The court sentenced Father Murray to one-year probation, and the church removed his faculties before he retired in 1987. Afterward, he relocated to a family home in Philadelphia. In 2016, another allegation arose involving a 1973 sexual assault of a twelve-year-old boy at Our Lady of the Americas in Conneaut Lake.

Current Status: Died 3/2018

Nealen, Giles L.

Ordained: 1951

The 2018 Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report found conclusive evidence of inappropriate behavior involving Nealen and a “long history of sexually abusing numerous young boys.” Documents show that in 1972, the diocese knew that the priest was “involved in an inappropriate incident,” while serving the parish as the pastor of Saint Bruno in South Greensburg. Even knowing about Nealen’s behavior, the church reassigned the priest to St. James in Waynesburg, Ohio. In 1993, the diocese received a letter from a man alleging Nealen sexually assaulted him twenty-three years earlier when he was thirteen years old at Queen of the World Parish. A woman notified the diocese in 2002 that she was aware of at least three boys who Nealan had molested.

Current Status: Died 12/1996

Olowin, Jan C.

Ordained: 1968

The 2018 Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report found conclusive evidence of sexual abuse involving Father Olowin. In May 1993, the diocese received a phone call from a possible victim, alleging Olowin behaved inappropriately. The victim stated that there might have been other victims. The church restricted Father Olowin’s ministry in 2016 because of past allegations.

Current Status: Retired to Sun City, Arizona

Pawlaczyk, Andrew W.

Ordained: 1962

The diocese found credible evidence years after Father Pawlaczyk’s death that he participated in inappropriate sexual behavior with a minor. In 2011, the priest allegedly sexually assaulted him while Pawlaczyk was a teacher, and the boy was a student at Erie Prep. One incident occurred when Pawlaczyk was a Walter Reed hospital chaplain, and the victim visited the priest in Washington, DC.

Current Status: Died 3/1982

Piatkowski, John A.

Ordained: Prior to 1935

The 2018 Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report found conclusive evidence of sexual abuse involving Piatkowski. In 1955, the diocese received the letter indicating that the priest had repeatedly sexually assaulted an underage altar boy. An additional letter was received in 1959, where a parishioner had requested the replacement of a new priest, stating that Piatkowski was sexually assaulting little boys who feared retaliation talking about it. In 2009, the Diocese Bishop spoke with a man who alleged the priest repeatedly sexually assaulted him during the 1940s at a parish in Tyler when the child was seven or eight years of age.

Current Status: Died 11/1970

Poulson, David

Ordained: 1979

In 2018, the diocese removed Reverend Poulson from ministry when allegations of sexually assaulting minors arose. The priest was arrested in May 2018 and charged with abusing two boys between the ages of eight and eighteen that had allegedly occurred in 2002 at different rectories and a remote cabin. One victim said that the priest made him confess after he was abused. A 2018 Grand Jury Report indicated that Poulson admitted to the diocese that Boyce sexually aroused him and that he had sent texts to underage minors about sex and spending time alone with them. The Bishop said he told the priest to “cease-and-desist but kept him in the ministry. The Bishop denied there was a cover-up. In October 2018, Poulson pled guilty to charges and was sentenced the following year to up to fourteen years in prison. The church settled with a victim in 2019 for $2 million to resolve the case where the child had been abused between 2002 and 2010. The Reverend was laicized in 3/2019.

Current Status: Likely serving up to 14-year prison sentence

Presley, William F.

Ordained: 1956

In 1982, the Diocese of Erie received the initial allegations of Reverend Presley being involved in inappropriate sexual behavior. By 1987, reports arose of the priest sexually assaulting a teenage girl occurring in 1986 and abusing a teenage boy before 1971. Church officials agreed that the priest was “extremely violent.” Church officials ordered the priest to receive a psychological evaluation. An additional three victims came forward in 2000 to alleged that the priest had sexually abused them between 1963 and 1974. One of the victims was thirteen years old at the time, and another was a college student at the University of Notre Dame. Presley admitted that the allegations were true and that the sexual assault included “choking, slapping, punching, rape, sodomy, fellatio, anal intercourse.” The church placed the priest on leave in July 2002.

Current Status: Died 4/2012

Reszkowski, Joseph V.

Ordained: 1954

The diocese found credible evidence years after the priest’s death that he participated in inappropriate sexual behavior with a minor.

Current Status: Died 9/2003

Rice, William A.

Ordained: 1963

The diocese found credible evidence years that Reverend Rice participated in inappropriate sexual behavior with adults and children. The church placed Rice on leave pending an investigation and told the priest he must not have contact with children and refrain from public ministry.

Current Status: Retired in Fryburg, PA

Schanz, John P.

Ordained: 1950

The diocese found credible evidence years after the Schanz’s death that he participated in inappropriate sexual behavior with a minor. For nearly his entire career, Schanz was an assistant at Holy Cross in Fairview. Church officials believe that there are at least seven alleged victims. In April 2002, a possible victim stated Schanz sexually assaulted him while he was an altar boy in the seventh or eighth grade at Saint Andrew and The Villa. In 2002, the church removed Schanz from active ministry. During that year, the priest was accused of abusing a twelve or thirteen-year-old boy in the early 1970s. In January 2007, a former camp lifeguard stated he witnessed Schanz sexually abusing a boy in 1974 at Camp Notre Dame. Another allegation involving sexual assault occurring in 1978/79 involved a sixteen or seventeen-year-old boy. Another sexual assault allegation arose involving Schanz and a fifteen-year-old boy in 1980/83. In 2005, an allegation of sexual assault arose involving a Saint Andrew’s altar boy when he was in the sixth grade.

Current Status: Died 4/2010

Schmitt, Charles R.

Ordained: 1959

In 2019, the diocese released the Reverend’s name among credibly accused priests associated with sexual abuse of underage children that are forbidden to function as priests. In 2018, the church removed Schmitt from ministry while his case was under investigation involving allegations he abused an underage child in the 1960s.

Current Status: Retired 2006

Sheets, Charles A. Jr.

Ordained: 1980

The diocese found credible evidence years after the Sheets’ death that he participated in inappropriate sexual behavior with a minor.

Current Status: Died 10/2009

Skeabeck, Mary Charlotte

The diocese found credible evidence years after Sister Mary (Charlotte) Skeabeck’s death that she participated in inappropriate sexual behavior with a minor. In May 2018, her Order received a report indicating that the Sister sexually assaulted a Villa Maria Academy student repeatedly during the late 1950s when the Sister was a teacher. The evidence revealed that the Order was aware of the sexual assault during the time it occurred.

Current Status: Died 2015

Slocum, Samuel B.

Ordained: 1980

In April 2011, police arrested Father Slocum for “an inappropriate relationship” with an underage male. A report indicates that the priest would give the victim gifts while taking photographs of him and other boys. The victim’s parents cut off contact between the priest and their son. However, Slocum did not stop seeing the boy and lied to the parents while encouraging the victim to keep the relationship secretive. The priest admitted to the local law enforcement that he did have inappropriate relationships with boys and was found guilty of concealing the whereabouts of the child and corrupting minors. Slocum received two years probation before returning to ministry. Reports indicate that the church knew as early as 1995 that he was involved with a high school senior boy.

Current Status: Laicized 11/2016

Smith, Thomas E.

Ordained: 1967

The 2018 Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report found conclusive evidence of sexual abuse involving Reverend Smith. The report reveals that Erie Diocese Bishop Murphy was aware of the allegations of sexual abuse involving a seventeen-year-old boy in 1984. The church placed Father Smith on health leave between February 1984 and October 1984 before reassigning him to a residential treatment center from March 1985 through August 1985. While at St. Luke’s in Maryland (1987), he was diagnosed with a “driven, compulsive, and long-standing obsession with sexually assaulting children.” The report indicates that the priest continued to sexually abuse minors after receiving treatment in 1984 and admitted during his treatment that he had abused, including raped, at least fifteen underage boys, including one as young as seven years old. The church allowed Smith to return to parish ministry and remained actively engaging in a ministerial manner with Catholic children. A report of abuse involving the nine-year-old boy surfaced in September 1993. The church suspended the priest in 2002 after another allegation arose. The church settled with the victim in early 2002. Criminal charges were filed in March 2008 but were dropped because of the expiration of the statute of limitations.

Current Status: Laicized 2006

Snyderwine, Thomas

Ordained: 1968

The 2018 Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report found conclusive evidence of sexual abuse involving Monsignor Snyderwine. The monsignor served as a parish priest, and DuBois Central Catholic and Erie Prep faculty member. In 1996, a fifth grade Saint Boniface school female student told the school principal that Monsignor Snyderwine showered with her and touched her in uncomfortable ways, five years earlier. The principal talked to the victim’s family who stated they were aware of the incident and told her daughter to stay away from the Monsignor. The church took no action.

Current Status: Retired 8/2002

Taylor, Daniel J.

Ordained: 1975

Reverend Taylor was ordained in the Diocese of Erie before taking an assignment in 1981 at the Tucson Diocese. In 1999, the Diocese of Tucson placed Taylor on leave after learning there were allegations against him while he was in the Diocese of Erie. The Reverend stated that he had taken two teens and one adult on vacation who claimed he touched them inappropriately during the night.

Current Status: Restricted to function as a priest

Tome, John

The 2018 Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report found conclusive evidence of sexual abuse involving Father Tome. The report revealed evidence of the priest sexually assaulting six siblings, including two boys and four girls between the ages of eight and thirteen. The incidents occurred in the 1970s when he was in seminary. At the time, one victims’ mother worked at Saint Brigid’s for Monsignor Karg. During the 70s, Karg, Tome and another Reverend visited the parent’s home for drinks. The victims told the Grand Jury that they believed the Monsignor knew of Tome’s abusive behavior toward them.

Current Status: Unknown

Unnamed #1 (Erie), Unnamed

The diocese found credible evidence years involving an unnamed priest indicating that he participated in inappropriate sexual behavior with a minor. The priest is accused of abusing three victims who claimed inappropriate behavior.

Current Status: Unknown

Unnamed #2 (Erie), Unnamed

In 2002, a woman claimed an unnamed priest had fondled her numerous times in the late 1950s when she was thirteen years old. The woman indicated that the priest was part of the diocese and that she had seen the reverend interact the same way with other girls. The church determined that her evidence was credible.

Current Status: Deceased

Vallimont, Patrick B.

Ordained: 1974

In 2018, the diocese released Reverend Vallimont’s name among credibly accused priests, volunteers, and laypeople associated with sexual abuse of underage children. In September 1976, the priest was hospitalized for severe depression. The Vatican was contacted in 1977 involving a request of laicization after the priest disclosed involvement in a brief sexual relationship with a thirteen-year-old female parishioner

Current Status: Likely living in Union City, PA

Client Reviews
Jonathan Rosenfeld was professionally objective, timely, and knowledgeable. Also, his advice was extremely effective regarding my case. In addition, Jonathan was understanding and patient pertaining to any of my questions or concerns. I was very happy with the end result and I highly recommend Jonathan Rosenfeld. Michonne Proulx
Extremely impressed with this law firm. They took control of a bad motorcycle crash that left my uncle seriously injured. Without any guarantee of a financial recovery, they went out and hired accident investigators and engineers to help prove how the accident happened. I am grateful that they worked on a contingency fee basis as there was no way we could have paid for these services on our own. Ethan Armstrong
This lawyer really helped me get compensation for my motorcycle accident case. I know there is no way that I could have gotten anywhere near the amount that Mr. Rosenfeld was able to get to settle my case. Thank you. Daniel Kaim
Jonathan helped my family heal and get compensation after our child was suffered a life threatening injury at daycare. He was sympathetic and in constant contact with us letting us know all he knew every step of the way. We were so blessed to find Jonathan! Giulia
Jonathan did a great job helping my family navigate through a lengthy lawsuit involving my grandmother's death in a nursing home. Through every step of the case, Jonathan kept my family informed of the progression of the case. Although our case eventually settled at a mediation, I really was impressed at how well prepared Jonathan was to take the case to trial. Lisa