PITTSBURGH (KDKA/AP) – The Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh says a clergyman awaiting trial on charges he molested four students 30 years ago at a school in Australia is the subject of a “credible” allegation of abuse from when he taught at the city’s North Catholic High School.
Fr. Ronald Lengwin, spokesman for the diocese, tells the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that the complaint against Marianist Brother Bernard Hartman has been turned over to authorities.
Fr. Lengwin says a former student at the school, since renamed Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic High School, came forward as the diocese was preparing a letter to North Catholic alumni about the Australian charges.
“’You should also, in terms of how you can handle this, because I was sexually abused by him.’ We have staff that met, believe the allegation to be credible,” said Fr. Lengwin.
The diocese then sent a letter stating its policy to more than 4,000 graduates of North Catholic, alerting them to the allegation.
The letter states: “Only on March 20, 2014, after a newspaper reporter contacted the Diocese about the court case in Australia, did the Diocese and Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic High School learn of the serious charges against Brother Hartman.”
“We have no record of any allegation from the three times that he was here,” Fr. Lengwin said.
Hartman is accused of molesting two males and two females at St. Paul’s College in Melbourne.
He taught biology at North Catholic briefly in 1961 and 1970, and then from 1986-97.
The letter just went out, but the hope is that anyone who may have been affected will contact the diocese or seek professional help and counseling.
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