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Late Wilkinsburg Priest Accused Of Abuse

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- The Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh has sent out a letter to parishioners at a church in Wilkinsburg about an accusation of sexual abuse.

In this case, both the accused priest and the alleged victim have passed away.

But the alleged victim's family says before he died, he revealed the abuse to them.

The man claims that Rev. John Wellinger abused him between 1981 and 1985 when Wellinger served as an assistant pastor at St. James Parish in Wilkinsburg.

The alleged victim's sister called the diocese.

"She said that her brother had told her that he had been abused by this priest sometime between 1981 and '85, told her this before he died," said Rev. Ron Lengwin, Diocese of Pittsburgh spokesperson.

Rev. Lengwin says that Rev. Wellinger was also accused back in 1995 of abuse that allegedly happened in 1989 while he served at Holy Spirit in West Mifflin.

While no criminal charges were filed, the accusation did become part of a civil suit, according to Rev. Lengwin.

He also says that by the time the accusation was made in 1995, Rev. Wellinger had already taken a leave for health reasons and never returned to publicly serve as a priest.

Rev. Wellinger died two years ago.

In the letter, the diocese is asking anyone who may have been harmed by him to call either the diocesan Victim's Assistance Hotline at 1-888-808-1235, or the state abuse hotline at 1-800-932-0313.

In addition to Wilkinsburg and West Mifflin, Father Wellinger also worked in Clairton, Allentown, Scott Township and Crafton.

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