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Another Fryburg Priest Added to List of Accused as Child Sex Abuse Scandal Continues to Rock Catholic Church
ERIE, Pa. (EYT) – A seemingly never-ending list of Catholic clergymen and laymen “credibly accused” of sexual misconduct involving children got even bigger today as seven new names were added to the list, including another priest from Fryburg.
When The Most Rev. Lawrence T. Persico, bishop of Erie, authorized the April 6, 2018 publication of 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.
The original list was updated on May 18, 2018, with six new names. Today, another seven new names, two of which are still under investigation, have been added to the website because of courageous survivors and witnesses coming forward and assisting various investigative processes.
Among the new names listed is Father William A. Rice, retired and living in Fryburg, Pa. Rice served at St. Michael parish in Fryburg.
The Diocese of Erie has received allegations of sexual harassment concerning Father William A. Rice involving both children and adults. Following diocesan policy, law enforcement was informed, an independent investigation was launched, and Bishop Persico placed him on administrative leave. Father Rice has been informed he is to refrain from all public ministry while the investigation continues. He is to have no contact with children.
Anyone who may have knowledge of these situations or who has been affected by similar improprieties is encouraged to report that information to the authorities.
In April, at least three additional priests and one layman with local connections were among those listed by the Catholic Diocese of Erie when it released the names of 51 people who were “credibly accused” of sexual misconduct.
Bishop Lawrence Persico of the Catholic Diocese of Erie said the persons on the list “have been credibly accused of actions ranging from furnishing pornography to minors to direct, sexual assault of minors.”
Locally, Fr. Joseph F. Meisinger, Fr. Donald J. Cooper, and William Garvey – all of who are now deceased – are also among those accused.
Meisinger served in Clarion from 1956 to 1972 while Cooper spent time from 1963 to 1984 at various area churches in New Bethlehem, DuBois, Reynoldsville, and Titusville.
William Garvey, an Oil City native who passed away in 2017, was a high school teacher and basketball coach at the Catholic Church. He joined the faculty of Mercyhurst in 1962 and later became dean of the college, vice president of academic affairs and was elected president in 1980. In 2008, he founded the Jefferson Educational Society of Erie.
Additionally, the Rev. David Poulson – an Oil City native who most recently had been a pastor in Cambridge Springs and previously served at St. Michael parish in Fryburg between the late 1990s and 2013 – recently waived his preliminary hearing on charges that he sexually abused two young boys over a period of many years. Poulson was not on the Attorney General’s list of those accused; however, accusations came to light after one of the victims revealed the alleged abuse to a military chaplain in Fort Hood, Texas.
New names added to the list (living):
– Charles R. Cooper — Lanexa, Virginia Former lay teacher
New names added to the list (deceased):
– Father G. Matthew Daly, was able to function (abuse reported after his death)
– Msgr. James Hopkins, was able to function (abuse reported after his death)
– Msgr. Louis Lorei, believed to have died restricted from ministry (records unclear as to final status)
– Vincent “Vance” Valentine, former lay school employee
New names under investigation:
– Jonathan Borkowski, Fairview, Pennsylvania
– Fr. William A. Rice—retired, Fryburg, Pennsylvania
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 full list of those accused can be found at www.ErieRCD.org/childprotection/disclosure.html.
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