Local added to Diocese of Erie accused abusers

Press Release

The Diocese of Erie has updated its Public Disclosure List including one St. Marys resident and one DuBois resident, as well as the first female clergy member named to the list of accused.
The list contains the names of persons who have been “credibly accused of actions that, in the diocese’s judgment, disqualify each person from working with children” as stated in a press release issued by the Diocese.
James E. Herzing of St. Marys, a former lay teacher, is among the new additions to the list.
On Monday five new names, as well as one previously listed as under investigation and one previously listed as awaiting trial, were added to the list of those with credible allegations. The new names include three living laypersons, one deceased priest, and one deceased religious sister are new.
The name of the late Msgr. Reszkowski is not new to the list, but has been moved from under investigation to among those credibly accused.
In addition, Father David Poulson, who pleaded guilty to one third-degree felony count each of corruption of minors and endangering the welfare of children Oct. 27, also has been moved to the list of those with credible allegations.
Four new names — two priests, one living and one deceased, one former living priest and one deceased layperson — have been listed as under investigation.
These additions brings the total number of priests on the list to 49, and the total number of laypeople to 26. It is the first time a religious sister has been included on the list.
The complete public disclosure list is publicly accessible on the Diocese of Erie’s website, www.eriercd.org/childprotection/disclosure.html.
Herzing marks the third lay teacher from the St. Marys area included in the list. In April, the Diocese listed Denise J. (Geitner) Myers (Meyer) of Greensburg, a former assistant principal, business teacher and cheerleading advisor at Elk County Christian High School among accused offenders.
Earlier this month, the late David Geitner, former teacher and coach at Elk County Christian High School was also named to the list.

New names:
Living Credibly Accused
•Ronald Keith Allison — Erie, former lay teacher;
•Lewis A. Kocher — Springfield, Ohio, former choir director;
•James E. Herzing — St. Marys, former lay teacher;
•Fr. David Poulson — Oil City, forbidden to function as a priest; awaiting sentencing.

Deceased Credibly Accused:
•Fr. Patrick J. Healy – Was able to function (abuse reported after his death).
•Msgr. Joseph V. Reszkowski – Was able to function (abuse reported after his death).
•Sr. Mary Carmel Skeabeck, SSJ (Charlotte Skeabeck) – former teacher

Under Investigation
•Msgr. H. Desmond McGee — retired, DuBois,
•Fr. Robert A. Pudlo (failure to act on credible reports) — deceased,
•Frank J. Mariella, Sr. – deceased,
•Former Fr. Thomas M. Lechner – laicized, Sewickley.

Modification to current list:
The spelling of the last name of former parish volunteer Robert D. Viszneki, listed as “awaiting trial,” has been corrected from Visznecki.

Four priests on the list have ties to the St. Marys area. They include:
•Fr. Stephen E. Jeselnick of Colorado Springs, Colorado, listed by the diocese as “forbidden to function as a priest,” was born and raised in St. Marys and an Elk County Christian High School graduate.
•The late Msgr. Daniel Martin, listed by the diocese as “restricted from ministry (abuse reported during retirement/physical-health-leave and later, after death)” was a former headmaster at ECCHS and former pastor of Saint Boniface Church in Kersey.
•The late Fr. Giles L. Nealen, OSB, is listed as “unable to function (was already confined to infirmary when abuse was reported).” He was a former Sacred Heart Church pastor and parochial vicar.
•The late former Fr. William F. Presley is listed as “dismissed from the clergy.” He was primarily an English teacher at ECC and coached the boys basketball team during the 1966-1967 season.
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Anyone who may have knowledge of these situations or who has been affected by similar improprieties is encouraged to report that information through any of the outlets listed at the end of this release.
The Diocese of Erie, in collaboration with its independent investigators at the Pittsburgh-based K&L Gates law firm, will continue investigating all allegations brought forth.
Pastoral care and compassion for victims, as well as the protection of children and vulnerable adults, is a top priority of the Diocese of Erie.
The diocese encourages anyone who has experienced sexual abuse or misconduct by a member of the clergy or any employee or volunteer of the church, to contact law enforcement. To report abuse to the independent investigators retained by the Diocese of Erie, email ErieRCD@KLGates.com.
Victims or concerned individuals also are welcome to contact the diocese directly to report abuse at 814.451.1543. In addition, anyone can directly report suspected abuse of minors by anyone to PA ChildLine by calling 800.932.0313. The line is open 24/7, and callers may choose to remain anonymous. Victims also are welcome to contact the diocese directly to report abuse at 814.451.1543. The Clergy Abuse Hotline established by the Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General can be reached at 888.538.8541. Counseling assistance is available for victims and/or their families through the diocesan victim assistance coordinator, Dr. Robert Nelsen, who can be reached at 814.451.1521.

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