Vandals spray painted over Cardinal Wuerl’s name on a sign at Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic High School in Cranberry as pressure mounts to remove the former bishop of Pittsburgh’s name from the school in the wake of a massive grand jury report detailing alleged sex abuse by Pennsylvania priests.
Cranberry police received a call about the vandalism to both sides of the sign at the school’s entrance on Route 228 just after 7 a.m. Monday, Sgt. Chuck Mascellino said.
Police do not know what time the damage was done.
Freshmen and sophomore students are at the school for orientation Monday, and the first day of school is Wednesday, Mascellino said.
A school official could not immediately be reached for comment.
Police are investigating the vandalism and seeking tips, Mascellino said.
“We don’t have any leads. We’ll try and check video footage of the area,” Mascellino said. “There is video (surveillance) at the school, but I don’t know if (it covers) that area. It is an area where there could be other video from other places.”
If the vandals are caught, they will be charged with institutional vandalism, which is a misdemeanor and carries probation or up to five years in jail, Mascellino said.
Any damage done to a school is automatically a misdemeanor , Mascellino said.
As of Monday morning, more than 6,500 people had signed an online petition asking the diocese to remove Wuerl’s name from the school.
Bishop David Zubik will decide whether to remove Wuerl’s name for the school, taking in to consideration a recommendation from the school’s board of directors, said Nicholas S. Vaskov, a diocese spokesman.
The diocese has not yet received the recommendation, Vaskov said.
The grand jury report was critical of Wuerl’s handling of allegations while he was bishop of the Pittsburgh diocese. Wuerl is now archbishop of Washington.
Ahead of the report, Wuerl said he acted diligently to protect children while he was bishop of Pittsburgh.
Wuerl’s name is mentioned 169 times in the report. The report detailed occasions when Wuerl intervened to stop priests accused of abuse but also times where Wuerl transferred those priests to other parishes.
He is not among the 301 “predator priests” named in the report.
The Pittsburgh diocese opened Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic High School in 2014. It was previously located in Pittsburgh’s Troy Hill neighborhood.
Cranberry police are asking anyone with information about the vandalism to call 724-776-5180, ext. 1400.
Brian Rittmeyer is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Brian at 724-226-4701, [email protected] or via Twitter @BCRittmeyer.