Catholic priest from Prospect accused of sexual abuse of a minor placed on administrative leave
Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh officials placed a Prospect parish leader on administrative leave following an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor.
Father Joseph Feltz, 65, was accused of sexual abuse of a minor in the mid-1980s, officials said via news release Saturday.
The allegation was made in a recent lawsuit against the diocese.
Bishop David Zubik sent letters this weekend at all parishes where Feltz served, which most recently was St. Christopher Parish in Prospect.
Officials said Feltz denied the allegation, which has been reported to law enforcement.
A voicemail left on Feltz’s phone was not immediately returned.
He may not engage in public ministry, dress as a priest or otherwise present himself as a priest in good standing, like all priests on administrative leave.
Officials said his faculties for ministry will be restored if an investigation proves the allegation is unsubstantiated.
Zubik’s letter said that the diocese will follow its policies and those of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.
Zubik also stressed that removing a priest from ministry while an investigation takes place “does not imply guilt.”
“It is intended to safeguard the course of justice while preserving the rights of everyone involved, including both the person who made the allegation and the person whom allegation has been made (against),” Zubik wrote.
Feltz’s restrictions will become permanent if the allegations are found to be true, wrote Zubik.
Anyone who has been harmed by someone representing the church can contact the Diocesan Assistance Coordinator at 888-808-1235 or the state abuse hotline at 800-932-0313.
Michael DiVittorio is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Michael at 412-871-2367, [email protected] or via Twitter @MikeJdiVittorio.