Retired Priest Found Guilty of Sexual Abuse in Pittsburgh, SNAP Responds
A retired priest from the Diocese of Pittsburgh has been found guilty of sexually abusing a child in the early 2000s. We are grateful for the outcome of this case and hope it encourages other survivors to come forward and seek help and healing.
Rev. Hugh Lang was found guilty today on 6 of 8 counts related to charges that he abused a then-11-year-old boy in 2001. We applaud this brave victim who had to travel from the other side of the world to testify against this abuser. We hope that his courageous example will inspire other victims, whether of Rev. Lang or any other priest, nun, deacon, or church staffer – to come forward and make a report to law enforcement professionals.
We are especially glad that this verdict was reached after Rev. Lang’s defense team tried to impugn the integrity of the victim for filing a civil lawsuit. Now that this tactic of attacking victims failed so spectacularly, we hope that other defense attorneys around the country will try to defend their clients in the future on the merits of the case as opposed to ad hominem attacks on survivors.
Due to statute of limitations laws and the established history of church officials minimizing cases, most survivors of clergy abuse never get the chance to have their day in court. We hope that lawmakers in Pennsylvania are paying attention to this case and will take up the issue of civil statute of limitations reform again after their previous attempts failed due to lobbying by the Catholic Church.
(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; our Australia website is SNAPAustralia.org)