A second allegation

Mike Tony | Herald-Standard

Msgr. Michael Matusak, who served four Uniontown area parishes, including St. Therese, Little Flower of Jesus parish (pictured) before he was placed on leave in August 2018 by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Greensburg after it received an allegation of sexual abuse against him, faces a second allegation of sexual abuse announced by a Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based attorney Friday. The latest allegation comes less than a week after the diocese announced his retirement effective July 1.

A second set of sexual abuse allegations was made against a Uniontown-area monsignor whose retirement was announced earlier this month, and an attorney for the accuser has asked why church officials never publicly revealed the existence of the new claims.

Adam Horowitz, a Florida-based attorney who represents victims of sexual abuse, alleged Monsignor Michael Matusak sexually abused a woman from 1973 to 1976. Horowitz contended the abuse began when Matusak was a deacon preparing for his ordination at St. Hedwig in Smock and continued after his ordination.

The woman said that Matusak stalked and harassed her for nearly 20 more years, even telling her that he would leave the priesthood for her, according to Horowitz.

In August 2018, Matusak was removed from roles at St. John the Evangelist, St. Mary (Nativity) and St. Therese, Little Flower of Jesus parishes in Uniontown and St. Joseph parish in South Union Township following an accusation that he touched a teenage girl inappropriately in the 1990s at St. Pius X Church in Mount Pleasant, Westmoreland County.

Jerry Zufelt, spokesman for the Diocese of Greensburg, said that Horowitz contacted the diocese in March 2019 with the allegation. He said the diocese immediately contacted PA ChildLine and law enforcement to report that allegation per diocesan policy.

Although Matusak was already on leave, his retirement was announced last week, to be effective July 1. Zufelt said his retirement was not due to the August 2018 allegation but instead was because he had reached retirement age.

Horowitz criticized the diocese in a Friday statement, saying that Matusak should have “should have been stripped of his faculties and title long ago” after it received what it called a “credible allegation” against Matusak in August 2018.

“Withholding this kind of information from the public is misleading and dangerous,” Horowitz said. “This is another example of America’s bishops failing at their promises of transparency and openness - and the importance of the public and the media in holding them accountable. Public safety depends upon it and survivors deserve better.”

Protecting children is a top priority for Bishop Edward Malesic, who heads the Greensburg diocese, Zufelt said.

“It is important to note that at the time of this second allegation, Msgr. Matusak was already removed from public ministry,” Zufelt said. “Msgr. Matusak may have retired, but the law enforcement investigation continues.”

Zufelt said diocesan policy is to cooperate with ongoing criminal investigations, deferring all further public release of information to law enforcement.

Matusak’s August 2018 removal came less than a week after the state Supreme Court published a grand jury report that found numerous cases of child abuse had been reported and covered up by church officials in six Roman Catholic dioceses in Pennsylvania. The report identified 301 “predator priests” in the dioceses over a 70-year period. Matusak was not one of the priests publicly named in the report.

A priest for 43 years, Matusak was given the title of monsignor in 2005. He was assigned as the pastor at St. Therese in 2008, when he left St. Pius X. He took over as pastor at the other three Uniontown churches in June 2018.

(1) comment

uhslibrary

Again another example of the church thinking that the laws of the state do not apply to them. The same thinking that is currently in place for the catholic school system.

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