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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Another priest within the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh has been placed on administrative leave.
The diocese says the decision to remove the priest from active ministry stems from allegations of inappropriate behavior with a minor. However, the diocese says the allegation did not involve sexual contact.
According to the diocese, Father Thomas Wilson has admitted to the allegation. He has been serving at two parishes in suburban Allegheny County.
But the allegation dates back to a time when Father Wilson was serving as a seminarian at St. Mary of the Mount Church on Mt. Washington.
Pittsburgh’s Catholic Diocese has placed 74-year-old Father Thomas Wilson on administrative leave. Until now he had been serving as Senior Parochial Vicar for both Saint Victor Parish in Bairdford and Transfiguration Parish in Russellton, Allegheny County.
As word spread following Saturday’s 6 0’clock mass at Transfiguration Church, parishioners reacted in a confused dismay.
“It leaves a lot of questions, it begs a lot of questions that need to be answered,” said parishioner Jene Rossini
The diocese says the allegation dates back to a time before Father Wilson was ordained a priest while serving as a seminarian at Saint Mary of the Mount on Mount Washington.
According to a statement from the diocese, Bishop David Zubik removed Father Wilson for an allegation of inappropriate behavior with a minor that did not involve sexual contact.
“His sermons were excellent, he seemed like he liked the people, he seemed like, just a very nice person, just hard to believe it. I just can’t grasp it right now,” Al Fletcher a parishioner at Transfiguration Parish said of Father Wilson.
“I think he’s a wonderful man. I met him, I just can’t imagine what could have happened,” Rossini said.
The diocese says this is the first allegation ever received against Father Wilson.
The diocese adds Father Wilson may no longer engage in public ministry, dress as a priest or present himself as a priest in good standing.
Despite this and other abuse allegations, many parishioners remain full of faith.
“Our Church is Jesus Christ our church is not the priests or the bishops,” Fletcher said.
Because Father Wilson has admitted to the allegation, the ministry restrictions placed on him are permanent and law enforcement according to the church has been notified.
Bishop Zubik is asking anyone who has been harmed by someone representing the church to contact the Diocesan Assistance Coordinator at 1-888-808-1235 or the Pennsylvania state abuse hotline at 1-800-932-0313.