The Vatican has called the sex abuse described in a grand jury report in Pennsylvania “criminal and morally reprehensible.”
A spokesman for The Vatican said on Thursday “those acts were betrayals of trust that robbed survivors of their dignity and faith.”
He also added that victims should know that Pope Francis is on their side.
7News dug deeper into the Pennsylvania grand jury report that details allegations of sexual abuse against hundreds of Catholic priests, including Father Raymond Lukac, who spent time in the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston.
A spokesman for the diocese said that Lukac served as the assistant to the pastor at Immaculate Conception Parish in Clarksburg.
He began serving the diocese in January of 1964, and was here for less than three years.
“Both the Grand Jury Report in the state of Pennsylvania and our files indicate no allegations made during his time here in the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston,” said spokesman Tim Bishop. “As always and with any case, we encourage anyone who may want to come forward to please do.”
According to the grand jury report, Lukac was then transferred to be a chaplain for the Veterans Administration Service.
The Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston emphasized that Lukac was not moved because there was a problem. He petitioned to become a full-time chaplain.
The grand jury report also stated that former Bishop Joseph Hodges of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston wrote a letter to Bishop William Connare of the Diocese of Greensburg welcoming Lukac and allegedly saying he knew of Lukac’s background.
The report states that Bishop Hodges wrote that Lukac was “most welcome here, that I know something of his background, and we will be happy to cooperate in helping him serve as a real priest.”
It also said Connare allegedly responded by noting that Lukac was a risk.
The report continues to detail other letters that were sent sent discussing Lukac before he was transferred including one from Bishop Hodges to Bishop Connare that said “He (Lukac) was rather strong in his language in a talk to some of the high school students earlier this year.”
Allegedly Hodges wrote that he felt it might be better for Lukac to be moved before “classes.”
The grand jury report also addressed the bishops who allegedly helped to keep Lukac active in the priesthood saying they “did so knowing he posed a risk to the public and were, therefore, complicit in the abuse he committed”.
The Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston did not have a comment when asked about that part of the report.