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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Throughout the summer, Cardinal Donald Wuerl denied knowing of any allegations against his predecessor, the very powerful Cardinal Theodore McCarrick.
Now, it turns out that as bishop of Pittsburgh, Wuerl himself alerted The Vatican of an abuse claim against McCarrick by former seminarian Robert Ciolek, whom KDKA-TV’s Andy Sheehan spoke with on the phone.
Sheehan: “So this runs counter to everything that Cardinal Wuerl said about him not knowing about McCarrick’s actions.”
Ciolek: “It is extremely offensive, disappointing, hurtful.”
Back in 2004, Ciolek made a claim against a Pittsburgh priest who had taught him at a seminary in Maryland. During his testimony, he said he’d also been abused by McCarrick at a Jersey Shore retreat house.
“And those experiences would involve inappropriate touching, massages, backrubs,” Ciolek said.
The diocese confirms that files here in Pittsburgh show that Wuerl personally sent the allegations against McCarrick to the papal representative, but Rev. Nicholas Vaskov said he cannot speak for Wuerl.
“I think it leads to many questions for people,” Vaskov said.
Ciolek came to Pittsburgh in December to personally view those files.
“Once I learned fully that he had shared this information with the Papal Nunzio and yet has consistent public statements denying having every had public knowledge of that, is appalling,” Ciolek said.
Ciolek says he is coming forward not to tarnish Wuerl’s reputation but to show how the church is still covering up and to bring about true transparency and reform.