Victims and Advocates Push Steubenville Diocese on Abuse

Survivors and advocates push Steubenville Diocese on abuse

They want expanded list of 'credibly accused' clerics

SNAP: the names of 5 men publicly accused of child sexual abuse missing

Each of them spent time in Steubenville area

A support group for clergy sex abuse victims is prodding the Steubenville Diocese to add five names to its list of 16 'credibly accused' childmolesting clerics

Each of the clerics has been publicly accused elsewhere, but have ties to the Ohio diocese, according to SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

“It’s an absolute fact that these potentially dangerous men spent time in the Steubenville area,” said Judy Jones, SNAP Volunteer Midwest Leader. “They may have already hurt Steubenville kids, might live nearby now or might come back to visit former parishioners. Parents, parishioners and the public need to be warned about them.”

“We know that are survivors who are suffering in silence and shame in the Steubenville area, and adding these names are one way that the Stuebenville Diocese can help those survivors," said Zach Hiner, SNAP’s Executive Director. "When they sees the name of their abuser on the list, they will know that they're not the only one, that it wasn’t their fault, and will begin to heal. ”

“To the child being raped, it makes no difference who signs a pedophile priest’s paycheck or who ordained him or who transferred him," concluded Jones. "Adding these names to the list helps survivors who may be suffering alone and in silence, as well as preventing further abuse.” 

The publicly accused clerics SNAP says were left off that list are: 

-- Deacon Rosendo F. “Ross” Decal, a Cuba native and "renaissance man" who worked in the Pittsburgh Diocese and was charged with “child pornography, unlawful contact with a minor and criminal use of communications” in April of 2018. In 1960s and '70s Deacon Decal taught at Steubenville Catholic Central High.
  
-- Fr Carl Anthony Peltz, a Steubenville priest who also worked as a Navy chaplain from 1983-1990 and who was later "incardinated" and worked in theKalamazoo Diocese. In 1985 in Iceland, Fr. Peltz allegedly forced a 12 year old boy to drink whiskey and raped him. A civil suit filed in 1991 in federal court charged that Steubenville Church officials should have known the priest had a drinking problem, yet it certified him as fit for service. That case settled for $25,000 in 1993. Fr. Peltz died in 2015.

-- Fr John Patrick Bertolucci, an Albany NY, priest who worked at Steubenville University for at least nine years, from 1979-1988. The priest admitted sexually abusing teenagers in the 1970s. Church officials permanently removed his facilities in 2002.  A lawsuit that same year alleged that Fr. Bertolucci told the parents of the alleged victim that "I was very proud of your son the way he repeatedly fought off my sexual advances most of the time."

-- Fr Christopher Pliauplis, who started his career as a religious order brother in Steubenville and was later ordained a priest for the Diocese. In 1991, he was transferred to the Rockville Centre Diocese purportedly to be near his ailing mother. Fr. Pliauplis was then sent briefly to the Brooklyn Diocese and then to the New York Archdiocese. The priest was accused of inappropriately touching a 17-year-old boy in 2006 on Staten Island. That same year, he was put on leave and his faculties were removed by Church authorities. Fr. Pliauplis appealed the decision to the Vatican and in 2008, a Church court in Rome cleared him. Later that year, he was returned to ministry at St. Patrick's Cathedral where he worked until at least 2011. Since 2012, he has been listed in the Official Catholic Directory as ‘on leave.’

--Fr Clemens M. Schlueter, a Steubenville diocesan priest who transferred to the Tucson Diocese in 1978 and retired in 1990. In 2002, Church officials disclosed that Fr. Schlueter had been suspended from ministry in 1997 after they had learned of an allegation of child sexual abuse.

CONTACT: Judy Jones, SNAP Volunteer Midwest Leader (SNAPjudy@gmail.com314-433-2511), Zach Hiner, SNAP Executive Director (zhiner@snapnetwork.org, 517-974-9009)

(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)


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