Diocese Releases 5th Update to Public Disclosure List; Former Administrator of St. Michael in Emlenton Under Investigation

Aly Delp

Aly Delp

Published April 6, 2019 4:50 am

ERIE, Pa. (EYT) — The Diocese of Erie updated its Public Disclosure List on Friday, and a former administrator at St. Michael in Emlenton has been added as an individual “Under Investigation.”

In this release, the Diocese has added an explanation of the investigative process to clarify what occurs when a person is under investigation.

The original, April 6, 2018 publication included 51 names of persons who were credibly accused of actions that, in the diocese’s judgment, “disqualify each person from working with children.” He promised that additional names would be added to the list as new information came to light.

Since then, the list has been updated five times, most recently on Friday, April 5.

Four laypersons and a former priest have been added to the list of Credibly Accused.

Three individuals have been added to the list of those Under Investigation.

Under Investigation

New Names ADDED:

• Fr. Stephen A. Anderson, — deceased
• Michael L. DiFrancisco — deceased
• Msgr. Conrad L. Kraus — deceased (former administrator at St. Michael Church in Emlenton)

Monsignor Kraus — who served as the administrator at St. Michael the Archangel Roman Catholic Church in Emlenton from 2001 to 2009 — is currently listed as Under Investigation, and no additional information was provided.

Note: Each individual Under Investigation is presumed innocent unless proved otherwise.

The following individuals are also on the list of Under Investigation:

• Fr. Sean P. Kerins — Erie, Pa.
• Fr. Richard D. Lynch — deceased
• Msgr. H. Desmond McGee — DuBois, Pa.
• Frank J. Mariella, Sr. — deceased
• Fr. Jan C. Olowin — retired, Peoria, Arizona
• Fr. Robert A. Pudlo (failed to act to stop abuse which was credibly reported to him) — deceased
• Fr. William A. Rice — retired, Fryburg, Pa.
• Msgr. L. Thomas Snyderwine — retired, Erie, Pa.

Credible Allegations

New Names ADDED:

• Jonathan J. Borkowski — Fairview, Pa., Former lay employee — previously Under Investigation
• Albert S. Davies, Former lay teacher — deceased
• Former Fr. Thomas M. Lechner — Sewickley, Pa. — Laicized, previously Under Investigation
• Ann Marie Hanes (Strall) — Spokane, Washington, Former lay teacher
• Robert D. Viszneki — Erie, Pa., Former parish volunteer — previously awaiting trial, now awaiting sentencing

Modification made to an existing name on the list:

• Fr. Edward W. Jungquist was thought to be deceased. He is now listed as “whereabouts unknown.”

Jungquist who served as parochial vicar at St. Titus in Titusville from 1984 through the late 1980s or possibly early 1990s, was thought to be deceased. He is now listed as “whereabouts unknown,” and is forbidden to function as a priest.

Diocese of Erie to Continue Investigations Brough Forth

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.

The Diocese of Erie’s Independent Survivors’ Reparation Program opened on February 15, 2019, and will continue to accept claims through August 15, 2019. Victims interested in learning more about this program should visit www.ErieRCD.org/isrp.html.

The full list of those accused can be found at www.ErieRCD.org/childprotection/disclosure.html.

Explanation of the Investigative Process and Under Investigation Category

The Diocese of Erie has retained independent investigators to pursue allegations of abuse and other wrongdoing regarding the protection of children and youth, including failure to report/act to stop abuse. Reports from alleged victims will always result in some form of investigative response. To be clear, all reports of abuse made to the diocese are submitted to both law enforcement and the independent investigators in a timely fashion as a matter of course. The independent investigators and/or law enforcement officials will communicate to the diocese their assessment of the credibility of an allegation, which the diocese considers in determining who will be listed on the public disclosure website.

Initial investigation steps (whether by law enforcement or independent investigators) are generally non-public. If these steps corroborate the essential facts of the initial report, the diocese will indicate that an individual is under investigation. The names of living individuals under investigation are published to prevent potential further harm to children or vulnerable adults. The names of deceased individuals are published to determine if additional victims or witnesses may exist who can help to resolve the investigation. A court order, a request from law enforcement, or some other extenuating circumstance may stop this publication until further proceedings or investigations occur. As such, the independent investigators will defer to law enforcement to ensure that law enforcement’s investigative efforts are not prejudiced.

As the independent investigators conduct their investigation, they are free to investigate any action that may, by law or in the judgment of the diocese, disqualify a person from working with children, regardless of whether the action could be secularly prosecuted. They are not bound by criminal or civil statutes of limitation. They may also consider any evidence they deem relevant, regardless of whether it would be admissible in a secular court proceeding.

Consistent with the interests of protecting victims, children, and vulnerable adults, and of putting the public on notice in a timely manner, the diocese seeks to resolve investigations in the most expedient manner possible, in order to positively identify those individuals who can be deemed “credibly accused” and to remove the names of those who have been wrongfully implicated.

Removal from the Under Investigation category:

An investigation can resolve itself in either of two ways: the allegation is determined to be credible or the allegation is found to be unsubstantiated.

An individual will be moved from “under investigation” to the list of “credibly accused” if there is credible evidence indicating the individual should not be working with children or youth that is sufficient to outweigh any contrary evidence. Examples include (1) a secular law-enforcement or child-protective government body concludes guilt, (2) multiple credible unrelated accusers exist, (3) the accused admits guilt, (4) contemporaneous corroborating historical reports of misconduct or disciplinary action exist, or (5) the subject refuses to cooperate with the investigation after being put on notice as to the existence of a report of abuse.

By contrast, a person may be removed from the “under investigation” list if there is conclusive evidence of misidentification, if no corroborating evidence is discovered even after the public is invited to come forward with relevant information, or if credible evidence is found to refute the essential facts contained in the allegation. In such cases, the diocese will work to restore the individual’s good name.

Attorney General Shapiro’s Comprehensive Investigation of Predator Priests

On August 15, 2018, Attorney General Shapiro released the comprehensive findings of a statewide investigative grand jury that spent two years uncovering abuse of children by priests and a systematic cover-up spanning decades by senior church leaders in Pennsylvania and the Vatican.

The grand jury found:

– 301 Catholic priests identified as predator priests who sexually abused children while serving in active ministry in the church.

– Detailed accounts of over 1,000 children victimized sexually by predator priests, with the grand jury noting it believed the real number of victims was in the “thousands.”

– Senior church officials, including bishops, monsignors, and others, knew about the abuse committed by priests, but routinely covered it up to avoid scandal, criminal charges against priests, and monetary damages to the dioceses.

– Priests committed acts of sexual abuse upon children and were routinely shuttled to other parishes – while parishioners were left unaware of sexual predators in their midst.

Read the full grand jury Diocese victim report here.


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