PA--Victims group to Greensburg Bishop: Turn over secret files on arrested priest

The nation’s largest support group for survivors of sexual abuse in institutional settings today is demanding that the bishop of Greensburg, PA turn over all secret files pertaining to a priest arrested yesterday for sexual abuse.

That priest, John T. Sweeney, was criminally charged for sexually abusing a 10-year-old boy in the 1990s.     

Members of SNAP, the Survivors Network, (, believe that Greensburg Bishop Edward C. Malesic may be withholding evidence, hidden in secret files otherwise known as Canon 489 files. These files, that every bishop must keep according to church law, outline abuse allegations and include letters, memos, reports from parents and victims, psychological reports, witness accounts of abuse, and other important evidence that law enforcement can use to help bolster their case.

“Sometimes, dioceses will hide these files in their lawyers’ offices under attorney-client privilege so that they can’t be subpoenaed,” said Judy Jones, Midwest Regional Leader, SNAP. “Other times, they just don’t turn them over. These files are so secret and so protected that law enforcement has to know exactly what they are asking for. Otherwise, men like Bishop Malesic are only going to turn over a sanitized file and then issue a statement saying that they knew ’nothing’ about allegations.”

Jones says that until now, Malesic’s efforts ­as well as the efforts of other bishops to be forthcoming about abuse­ have been failures.

“Internal programs, reforms, and prayers have done nothing to expose abuse. The only thing that will hold people accountable allowing abuse and cover-up to continue is changing the law and turning over files,” she said.

“Let’s see if he is the reformer he claims to be."

Contact - Judy Jones, (636-433-2511, [email protected]) Barbara Dorris (314-503-0003 cell, [email protected] )
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around for 25 years and have more than 25,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is   

Showing 2 comments

  • Michael Ference
    commented 2017-07-25 21:04:17 -0500
    Did Allegheny County DA Zappala’s office protect predators over children?

    If it weren’t such a serious matter, I would find it laughable that Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala Jr. has announced plans to “revisit some of the matters” during the tenure of one-time Pittsburgh Catholic Bishop Anthony Bevilacqua now that the former cardinal of the Philadelphia archdiocese has been accused of transferring and possibly covering up crimes of priests accused of sexual abuse and never warning the unsuspecting parishioners in the new churches.

    Perhaps Zappala can start by “revisiting” documentation that I provided years ago to two Allegheny County Detectives (Logan and Andrews) regarding an alleged cover-up that inspired the current McKeesport Police Chief to tell me that a grand jury investigation was merited. This case goes back to 1987, the last year Bevilacqua served in the Pittsburgh Diocese. The alleged cover-up involved a local priest giving a young man alcohol and drugs; there was a period of unconsciousness during which the boy may have been sexually abused, and then he eventually made his way to a city hospital. His parents were summoned, told what had happened and advised by medical staff not to report the alleged criminal activity.

    When I shared my research on this case years ago, Zappala and his detectives did nothing except blow me off.

    My guess is that newspapers from the Philadelphia area with legitimate investigative reporters will break this story first. Zappala and western PA publishers and editors who didn’t follow through on this years ago may be too busy removing egg from their face.
  • Michael Ference
    commented 2017-07-25 09:39:36 -0500
    If Sweeney attended St. Vincent Seminary here’s a link that gives some background on the place.

    The current Archabbot, Nowicki was actually accused of sexual abuse. He was cleared by his boss, who has also beend accused of sexual abuse.

    Read for yourself and judge for yourself:…/

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