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Grand Jury Report Could Soon Be Released On Sexual Abuse In 6 Pa. Dioceses

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UPDATE (July 17, 2018) --

Pennsylvania's grand jury report on sexual abuse in the Catholic Church has been delayed once again. Tuesday was the deadline for those named in the report to file final objections, and some did, even though their names have been redacted.

KDKA's Andy Sheehan Reports:


PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- A long-awaited grand jury report on Pittsburgh, Greensburg and four other Catholic dioceses in Pennsylvania could be released as early as Tuesday.

The state Supreme Court is considering releasing the 800-page report with the names of some priest and church officials redacted while it hears appeals.

KDKA's Andy Sheehan has a look at what details the report might contain.

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

The Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh became a national leader in reform under now-Cardinal Donald Wuerl, who at the time was the diocese's bishop. Wuerl defied The Vatican in 1993 by refusing to reassign Fr. Anthony Cipolla, who was the center of a sexual abuse case in the 1990s.

However, the rest of the record is not so stellar, according to victims who carry the scars.

KDKA uncovered the story of Paul Dorsch and several of his former classmates at Quigley High School, who say they were molested by their former headmaster Fr. Jack Hoehl.

Our investigation found that when the allegations were brought to the diocese, Hoehl was reassigned to chaplain work at Shadyside Hospital, and that law enforcement was never notified.

The diocese eventually removed Hoehl from ministry, but KDKA found him working as a youth counselor in Weirton. After our reports, West Virginia revoked his license.


That is only one case. There has been a parade of priests convicted of sexually assaulting young people.

Fr. Robert Wolk of St. Thomas More in Bethel Park, Fr. Richard Zula of Sts. Mary and Ann in Marianna, Washington County, and Fr. Richard Dorsch who was convicted of sexually assaulting a 13-year-old boy in North Park.

In each of the cases, there have been questions of whether the diocese had prior knowledge of the actions of these priest and whether church officials alerted police.

"We have found that there was an ongoing pattern of cover-up, basically, by the diocese," attorney Alan Perer said.

Perer, who has represented the alleged victims of Hoehl and other priests, welcomes to the grand jury report, hoping it definitively answers these questions.

"This could open the doors to really finding out the truth about what happened over the years, and what the diocese response was to these abusive priests," said Perer.

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