Priest named in the scathing 2018 Pennsylvania statewide grand jury report charged again; SNAP responds.

A Pittsburgh diocesan priest who was removed from ministry in 2003 and later publicly named as accused in a priest profile in the 2018 Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report was arrested yesterday for once again victimizing children. We are outraged at this situation and hope that he will finally be able to be held accountable for his crimes.

According to court documents, Paul Spisak, 77, was arrested yesterday after being allegedly caught taking pictures of minors using public bathrooms in a local store in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. Spisak was charged with two felonies, Photograph/Film/Depict on Computer Sex Act - Knowingly or Permitting Child and SEXUAL ABUSE OF CHILDREN - POSSESSION OF CHILD PORNOGRAPHY as well as a misdemeanor Invasion of Privacy - view, photograph, etc. person He is due back in court for a preliminary hearing on December 22, 2021.

The worst part about this story is that it is the latest in a string of similar crimes that Spisak has committed. In 2006, Spisak pled guilty to disorderly conduct after police responded to the South Hills Village Mall for a complaint in a first-floor men’s bathroom. A male reported while in the men’s bathroom stall, he observed a camera recording him from the rear corner of his stall. The camera was protruding through the opening of the stall and was being recorded by Spisak. On April 26, 2017, Spisak arrived at the police station for further questioning and admitted to having the camera, recording the victim in the stall, and then flushing the memory card. Spisak also admitted to police that he had a “sexual fixation with the male buttocks.”

The inaction of the Diocese of Pittsburgh to monitor what known predators are doing daily is breathtakingly irresponsible as this case clearly demonstrates. The recklessness of church officials, including Cardinal Wuerl, has evidently enabled a predator priest to sexually abuse and continue his predilections and acquire more victims. It is a horrid thought to imagine the number of child victims who do not know they were victimized because of this sickening man. This case is just another example of the church choosing to protect its reputation, ensuring abusers like Spisak walk free instead of being jailed for the crimes they committed. We strongly encourage prosecutors to signal for a lengthy jail term under the felony charges to put this man behind bars and stop him from abusing yet again.

CONTACT: Mike McDonnell, SNAP Communications Manager ([email protected], 267-261-0578), Shaun Dougherty, SNAP Board President ([email protected], 814-341-8386) Zach Hiner ([email protected], 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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  • Michael Mcdonnell
    published this page in Media Statements 2021-12-08 17:02:14 -0600

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