PA- Victims to leaflet Catholic cathedral

Victims to leaflet Catholic cathedral

They draw attention to one more predator

 He abused elsewhere but also worked in Pittsburgh

 His presence & crimes have not been publicized here, group maintains

 SNAP to bishop: “Come clean now about your own child molesting clerics!”

 SNAP: “Every Catholic should ask their loved ones 'Did any priest hurt you?'


As parishioners leave mass, clergy sex abuse victims and their supporters will hand fliers out that;

–-disclose the name of one more child molesting cleric who was in Pittsburgh but has never before been exposed locally, and

–-urge local Catholics to “overcome their fears” and ask all their relatives if they were ever hurt by any of these nine recently “outed” child molesting Pittsburgh clerics (and, if so, to call police immediately).

The leaflets also urge parishioners to insist that Catholic officials;

–send “outreach” letters to graduates of every parochial school in the Pittsburgh diocese, begging those who were abused to step forward and call law enforcement, and

--permanently post on the diocesan website the names of all proven, admitted and credibly accused predatory priests, nuns, brothers and seminarians.


TODAY, Friday, May 16 at 12:20 p.m.    


Outside St. Paul Catholic Cathedral (, 108 N. Dithridge Street (corner of Fifth Ave.) in Pittsburgh


Two-three members of a self-help group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (


While eight child molesting Marianist clerics have recently been exposed in Pittsburgh, SNAP will warn citizens and Catholics about one more credibly accused child molesting cleric who has also worked in Pittsburgh but has never been “outed” or exposed in Pittsburgh before.

He is Fr. William Wehrle from Baltimore who worked in Pittsburgh in 1988, 1990, and 1995. (He was accused of sexual abuse in the mid 1980s, was removed, but went on to work at other parishes in Maryland and Pittsburgh. He died in 1995.)

Wehrle's abuse and presence in Pittsburgh has never been exposed in the Pittsburgh area before. Details about him can be found at

He is NOT among the eight Marianist brothers who have been publicly accused for the first time in recent weeks and who worked at North Catholic High School.

Those clerics are Brother Bernard Hartman, Brother James Kline, Brother Joseph Binder, Brother Julius May, Brother William Charles Hildenbrand, Brother Francis Meder, Brother Ralph August Mravintz and Brother John Keegan.

Since all of the eight worked in schools, SNAP wants Pittsburgh Bishop David Zubik to write letters to alums of all current and closed parochial schools, urging others who were molested to speak up.

One of the accused (Hartman) faces criminal charges in Australia.  Another one (Mravintz) was charged with child sex crimes in 1986 but pled to a lesser offense.

Even with the disclosure of these nine child molesting clerics in April and May, SNAP believes that “there may well be several – or even many – Pittsburgh area child molesting clerics who have yet to be publicly exposed. SNAP urges Bishop Zubik and other local Catholic officials to “go beyond the bare minimum and aggressively use their resources (pulpits, websites, bulletins etc.) to beg those who saw, suspected or suffered clergy sex crimes to speak up.”

SNAP says it's “irresponsible for Catholic officials to passively sit back and wait for the phone to ring.” Zubik should “personally visit every single parish where a proven, admitted and credibly accused priest, nun, seminarian or church employee worked, emphatically begging victims, witnesses and whistleblowers to call police and prosecutors,” they say The “usual church response” of “small, terse, carefully crafted three sentence notices tucked far back in a diocesan newspaper or parish bulletin don't cut it,” said SNAP director David Clohessy of St. Louis.

This recent cascade of revelations began after SNAP prodded Zubik (on March 24) to seek out others who were hurt by Hartman.

In response to SNAP's plea, Pittsburgh diocesan officials sent the first of two letters to North Catholic High School alums. Then, victims started breaking their silence.

 Most clerics belong to dioceses. But many belong to religious orders like the Marianists. And religious orders are “even more secretive” about clergy sex crimes than dioceses are, SNAP says.

Many diocesan church officials “split hairs and dodge responsibility” in religious order abuse cases, SNAP maintains. But that's irresponsible because “religious order clerics work in a diocese only with the bishop's permission, so ultimately, the bishop is responsible for all clergy sex crimes in his jurisdiction,” Clohessy says.

SNAP leaders do not believe two recent claims by Pittsburgh Catholic officials - that they only recently learned about Hartman's trial and that they had no information about Mravintz's arrest and conviction in the 1980s. The group also does not believe Fr. Martin Solma, head of the Marianists, who claims his order “had no knowledge of any alleged abuse” in Pittsburgh until recently.

SNAP applauds these “brave victims for stepping forward” and “begs them to contact secular authorities, not church figures.”


Judy Block Jones (314-974-5003, [email protected]), David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, [email protected]), Barbara Dorris (314-503-0003 cell, [email protected]), Fran Samber (717-514-9660, [email protected])



SNAP Network is a GuideStar Gold Participant