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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Bishop David Zubik has placed three priests accused of sexually abusing minors on administrative leave in the Pittsburgh Catholic Diocese.

The priests are 71-year-old Fr. John Bauer, 81-year-old Fr. Bernard Costello and 87-year-old Fr. Hugh Lang.

KDKA’s Ralph Iannotti Reports:


 

Bauer has been serving in St. Ann in Waynesburg, St. Hugh in Carmichaels, St. Ignatius of Atioch in Bobtown, Our Lady of Consolation in Nemacolin and St. Thomas in Clarksville in Greene County. The Diocese of Pittsburgh received an allegation Thursday claiming that Bauer sexually abused a minor in the early ’80s.

According to the grand jury report, Bauer was previously accused of child sexual abuse, but it was found to be unsubstantiated because the accuser said Bauer didn’t sexually abuse him.

Fr. Nicholas Vaskov, Pittsburgh Catholic Diocese spokesman, said, “For the two retired priests, it’s the first time an allegation has been made against them. For the other priest, the active priest, he was named in the [grand jury] report, but the actions that were alleged were not substantiated as child abuse, so he’s been able to remain in ministry. With this new allegation, that’s over.”

(Photo Credit: Diocese of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

Costello completed his last assignment in 2011 as temporary administrator at Mary, Mother of the Church parish in Charleroi. The Diocese of Pittsburgh received an allegation on Aug. 22 claiming Costello sexually abused a minor in the mid-’60s. This is the first allegation the diocese has received against Costello.

The Diocese of Pittsburgh received an allegation Monday claiming Lang sexually abused a minor in 2001. Lang retired in 2006 as the long-time pastor of St. Therese of Lisieux in Munhall. This is the first allegation the diocese has received against Lang.

Tim Droschak, of Munhall, told KDKA-TV News, “My mom and dad got married there, my sister got married at St. Therese.”

He summed up his reaction to the news about Lang with three words: shock, surprise, disappointment.

Another Munhall resident, Barry Caprino, said, “I attend St. Therese; I go to their Saturday Mass at 4 o’clock all the time. It’s just very sad that it keeps dragging on week after week.”

All three priests have denied the allegations.

“The three today are obviously new allegations, and so with those allegations coming in, the Bishop has placed the priests on administrative leave. They cannot function as priests. Everything’s been turned over to law enforcement for them to investigate, and as the process goes on, we just continue to encourage others to call if they have allegations as well that we can respond to them,” Fr. Vaskov said.

The priests are not allowed to engage in public ministry, dress as priests or otherwise present themselves as priests in good standing while on administrative leave.

Letters will be shared this weekend at all parishes where the priests have served.