ShareThis Page
Nun’s rape outside Catholic church stuns Aliquippa, nation |

Nun’s rape outside Catholic church stuns Aliquippa, nation

| Saturday, December 14, 2013 6:09 p.m

A nun who was raped outside an Aliquippa church is an advocate for a community that reeled in shock on Saturday over the brutal crime, police said.

“This is not acceptable on any level,” Aliquippa police Chief Andre Davis said. “This is unacceptable to the whole community.”

Prayers and well wishes have poured in from across the country for the 85-year-old retired nun, said Sister Mary Pellegrino, congregational moderator for the Sisters of St. Joseph in Baden.

“As Sisters of St. Joseph, we live and work to bring all people into union with God, and Sister manifests that spirit every day. Sister is a passionate advocate of nonviolence, peace and justice, and each month she conducts a prayer vigil for peace in the chapel of our Motherhouse,” Pellegrino said in a statement. “As we offer continued prayers of healing for our Sister, we also pray for the young man who has been arrested in the assault.”

Andrew Clarence Bullock, 18, of Aliquippa denied any involvement in the Friday morning attack outside St. Titus Roman Catholic Church, his brother, Zach Hauser, said on Saturday. Bullock remained in the Beaver County Jail on Saturday on charges including rape and aggravated assault, unable to post $50,000 bail. Hauser said his brother called him on Friday night from the Aliquippa police station.

“I don’t know what to believe,” Hauser said. “He said that he had been walking by the church, but he didn’t do it.”

Police said the nun was dropping off papers in a recycling bin by the convent in which she lives next to St. Titus Church just before 11:30 a.m. Friday when a man approached her from behind, tapped her on the shoulder and asked if she needed help.

“She said that when she turned to look at him, he had a very nice smile,” Aliquippa police Detective Sgt. Steven Roberts said.

Within moments, police said, Bullock attacked the nun and raped her.

Roberts said the nun was able to describe her attacker, and another man gave a matching clothing description of someone he had seen nearby before the attack. Through that, police identified Bullock.

When questioned, Roberts said, Bullock eventually admitted attacking the nun, but he did not give a reason.

“I couldn’t believe it when I heard it,” said St. Titus church member Lucy Biega, 89, of Aliquippa. “I don’t recall anything ever happening like this before in Aliquippa. Maybe someone trying to steal a purse, but nothing like this. And to a nun. It’s just shameful.”

Roberts said the nun underwent surgery in Allegheny General Hospital to repair a broken jaw. Church officials said she was released on Saturday.

“She’s always very pleasant, very happy and very helpful,” Roberts said. “She’s always been concerned about people within the community, looking out for people within the community.”

While she lived at the St. Titus convent, the Rev. Paul C. Householder said she had worked at a church in West View before retiring several years ago. She continues to visit patients at the Baden Villa St. Joseph and performs other social services chores.

“She’s quite a talker and has a great personality,” Householder, St. Titus pastor, said. “People enjoy her visits.”

The nun was the victim of a purse snatching in 2006 after returning from an evening Mass in the same area where the rape took place, Roberts said.

Worshippers at the Saturday evening Mass said she not only fought off the purse snatcher, but told him that she would forgive him of his crime and then gave him $10.

“It’s a shame, what happened this time,” said Eddie Katkich, 72, a retired Aliquippa police sergeant and member of the St. Titus congregation. “But that’s a sign of the times. She’s a sweet lady, too.”

Bill Vidonic and Carl Prine are staff writers for Trib Total Media. Vidonic can be reached at 412-380-5621 or Prine can be reached at 412-320-7826 or

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.