Diocese of Greensburg

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Coat of Arms of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Greensburg

The Diocese of Greensburg covers the southwestern portion of Pennsylvania and was established in 1951.  As a relatively new and small diocese, the priest abuse scandal has not been as impactful in the Diocese of Greensburg in terms of numbers. The Grand Jury Report found 20 priests who abused children.

The Report identifies three officials in the Diocese who were instrumental in the handling of sex abuse claims.  They are Father Roger Statnick, Father Lawrence Persico (later bishop of Erie), and Monsignor Thomas Klinzing.  As in all the other Pennsylvania dioceses, the Grand Jury found that the bishops and top officials of the Greensburg Diocese had knowledge of the sexual abuse of minors, allowed them to continue in ministry, and didn’t report it to police.

“The Grand Jury received evidence that Diocesan administrators, including Bishops, dissuaded victims from reporting abuse to law enforcement. Meanwhile, the Diocese regularly failed to independently investigate allegations of child sexual abuse in order to avoid scandal and possible civil and criminal liability on behalf of the Diocese, accused priests, and Diocesan leadership. To the extent an investigation was conducted by the Diocese, it was too often deficient or biased and did not result in reporting credible allegations of crimes against children to the proper authorities or otherwise faithfully respond to the abuse which was uncovered.”

As stated earlier, the number of priests who’ve been accused of abusing children in the Diocese of Greensburg is considerably less than other dioceses, the abuse suffered by the children is no less shocking, criminal, and tragic.  A case in point is Father Edmond Parrakow, originally ordained for the Archdiocese of New York in 1968.  Parrakow served 17 years in the Archdiocese until he was sent for treatment to the Paraclete Fathers in New Mexico after an abuse allegation was lodged against him. 

During his treatment, Parrakow admitted to abusing at least 35 children.  The Report notes, “According to a memorandum dated February 20, 1985, from Monsignor Thomas Klinzing of the Diocese of Greenburg to Bishop William Connare, an inquiry was received from the Archdiocese of New York asking if Parrakow could be accepted into the Diocese of Greensburg ‘for the next three or four months.’ This initial request from the New York Archdiocese included information that Parrakow was undergoing counseling at the time, but assured the Greensburg diocese ‘that there were no unusual psychological problems but that Father Parrakow needs time to sort out his problems.’”

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The Pastoral Center of the Catholic Diocese of Greensburg in western Pennsylvania

Shortly before his departure from the treatment center in New Mexico, the therapist wrote to the Archdiocese of New York specifically stating that Parrakow should not be given an assignment that involved schools.  New York officials shared the information with officials of the Diocese of Greensburg who balked.  However, Parrakow was allowed entrance into the Diocese of Greensburg and was assigned to parishes that had schools attached to them.  He was never supervised or monitored.

“In a confidential memorandum dated December 11, 1985, prepared by Connare that was held within the secret archives of the Diocese of Greensburg, Connare acknowledged receipt of the progress reports sent with Parrakow’s December 9, 1985, letter. In this confidential memorandum, Connare documented that although the official reason offered for Parrakow’s stay at Foundation House was “‘burn out’ due to his teaching experience,” he was informed during a telephone conversation with a Father Isaias that the reason Parrakow was dispatched to New Mexico was a complaint of sexual abuse committed by Parrakow on a teenage boy fifteen years prior. Connare noted that the victim was ‘older and unbalanced’ and had been contacting the Archdiocese of New York about Parrakow.”

In January of 1989, Parrakow requested incardination with the Diocese of Greensburg, meaning that he would be formally transferred from the Archdiocese of New York to the Diocese of Greensburg. The request prompted the disclosure of Parrakow’s full records from the Archdiocese of New York. This included his complete records from Foundation House, which included his admission to having molested approximately thirty-five male children while he served as a priest. At the same time these records were being disclosed in the first weeks of February, 1989, the complaint involving Victim Two was received by the Diocese.

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Map of the Catholic Diocese of Greensburg

It wasn’t until February 1989 new Bishop Anthony Bosco removed Parrakow from the Diocese of Greensburg.  Significantly, an undated note in Parrakow’s Diocesan file appeared to confirm that the Diocese of Greensburg had engaged in no meaningful supervision of Parrakow since his arrival in 1986. The note stated, “We have not & cannot supervising.”

Parrakow was laicized in 2003.  After having admitted to molesting at least 35 children in the Archdiocese of New York, he moved to Greensburg and continued his abuse-in one instance telling altar boys to take off all their clothes before putting on their cassocks for mass.  He also performed physical exams on children who were stripped naked.  All of this happened because he was left alone with children in spite of the fact that the Bishop knew all about Parrakow.