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4 Jesuit priests who served in Pittsburgh among those accused of sexual abuse |

4 Jesuit priests who served in Pittsburgh among those accused of sexual abuse

Jamie Martines
| Monday, December 17, 2018 4:18 p.m

Jesuits who served in Pittsburgh were among the 24 priests accused of sexual abuse since 1950 named by the order’s Maryland Province on Monday.

No reports of abuse originated in Pittsburgh, according to the province, but four of the Jesuits on the list served in Pittsburgh, including William J. Walsh, the first headmaster of the former Bishop’s Latin School, and two others who worked at the school in the 1960s.

After opening in Homewood in 1961, the school moved to East Liberty and finally the South Side before closing in 1973. It has served as the pre-seminary high school of the diocese, according to the school’s alumni page.

The Society of Jesus is the largest male religious order in the Roman Catholic church with about 17,000 members. The Maryland Province oversees Jesuits assigned throughout the District of Columbia, Georgia, Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia.

Priests who are members of religious orders are typically not considered diocesan personnel.

“We are deeply sorry for the harm we have caused to victims and their families,” Father Robert M. Hussey, provincial of the Maryland Province, said in a statement. “We also apologize for participating in the harm that abuse has done to our Church, a Church that we love and that preaches God’s care for all, especially the most vulnerable among us. The People of God have suffered, and they rightly demand transparency and accountability. We hope that this disclosure of names will contribute to reconciliation and healing.”

Two other Jesuit provinces – Central and Southern, along with the Western – released lists of a combined 153 Jesuits with credible allegations of sexual abuse against them this month.

The four Jesuits who previously served in the Pittsburgh area included on the list were not named in the August 2018 Pennsylvania grand jury report. They are:

  • Robert B. Cullen, S.J. died in 2005. He served at Bishop’s Latin School in Pittsburgh (1961-1962), as well as Sts. Peter and Paul Parish (1991-1992) and the Corpus Christi Pastoral Center (1992-1994). Multiple allegations of sexual abuse were made against him while serving in Maryland.
  • Arthur J. Long, S.J. left the Jesuits in 1992 and died in 2004. He faces multiple allegations of sexual abuse from when he served at the Geisinger Medical Center and Villa Sacred Heart in Danville (1975-1987). He served at Bishop’s Latin School in Pittsburgh (1963-1964).
  • William J. Walsh, S.J. was removed from ministry in 1996 and lives in a restricted environment on a safety plan. He faces multiple allegations of sexual abuse in Philadelphia and Wernersville in Pennsylvania, Prince George’s County, Maryland, and Washington. He served at Bishop’s Latin School in Pittsburgh from 1961-1965.
  • William Wehrle, S.J. died in 1995. Multiple allegations of sexual abuse said to have occurred when he served in Denver and Washington were made against him. He previously served at Pittsburgh Hospital and lived at Sts. Peter and Paul Rectory (1971-1973), Sts. Peter and Paul Jesuit Community and the Jesuit Community at Corpus Christi Pastoral Center (1992-1995).

Jamie Martines is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jamie at 724-850-2867, or via Twitter @Jamie_Martines.

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