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Parishes where accused priest served to be informed of sex abuse allegation

The Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh is sending letters to all the parishes where a Beaver County priest worked, informing them of an allegation of sexual abuse against him.

“The pastor will make the decision whether he wishes to read the letter at Mass and publish the letter in the parish bulletin. Our recommendation is that he does both,” said the Rev. Ronald Lengwin, spokesman for the diocese, on Tuesday.

One person made an allegation of sexual abuse dating to the late 1990s against the Rev. John “Jack” Fitzgerald, 66, pastor of Our Lady of Peace Parish in Conway. The diocese placed him on administrative leave while authorities investigate.

Bishop David Zubik wrote a letter about the allegation that was read last weekend at all Masses at Our Lady of Peace. Fitzgerald worked as parochial vicar at seven parishes between the 1970s and 1991. He was assigned to St. Anthony in Bessemer in Lawrence County from 1991 to 1995 and worked as a part-time priest at St. John Neumann in Franklin Park. He also was chaplain of the Air National Guard’s 171st Air Refueling Wing in Moon from 1986 to 2010.

Master Sgt. Shawn Monk, spokesman for the wing, said he was not aware of any allegations of abuse occurring there. He said Fitzgerald retired as a lieutenant colonel with an honorable discharge in 2010.

Bill Zlatos is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.


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