"The fear of every priest is that someone, sometime, somewhere, somehow will level a false accusation against him. That nightmare has been realized for me," he said. "I emphatically state no such behavior occurred, nor any semblance of such behavior. The accusation is false, offensive and outrageous." - Bishop David Zubik, October 5, 2011.
From Channel 4 News in BEAVER, Pa. -- Pittsburgh Catholic Bishop David Zubik on Wednesday vehemently denied an accusation that he sexually assaulted a student in the 1980s.
Channel 4 Action News' Bob Mayo reported that the bishop went public with a news conference to deny the accusation by 45-year-old Michael Rock, a former student at Quigley Catholic High School in Baden, where Zubik served from 1980 to 1987.
"Specifically, my accuser alleged: 'He was the most violent with me. He forced me up against the wall in the chapel and tried to tongue kiss me.' I emphatically state no such behavior occurred, nor any semblance of such behavior. The accusation is false, offensive and outrageous," Zubik said, reading from a prepared statement.Beaver County District Attorney Anthony Berosh seemed to agree.
"I can assure you, based on 30 years of experience, I have never heard of a more convoluted, extenuated series of stories in order to justify the recollection of the now-made allegations against the bishop of the Diocese of Pittsburgh," Berosh said.According to a news release from the Pittsburgh diocese, the accusation was made public in a blog post.
When the diocese learned of the accusation, it turned the information over to the district attorney's office, authorities at the Vatican and the independent diocesan review board, the statement said.
"Take a look at this collar. I've been putting this collar on every day for the past 40 years. In the name of my brother priests, I want to say that this collar is not a bull's-eye," Zubik said.
Even though the statute of limitations expired a long time ago, Berosh said his office did an in-depth investigation and found nothing to backup Rock's claims.
"The allegation was brought to our attention not by the alleged victim in this case, but by the diocese of Pittsburgh itself," Berosh said. "I believe that says a lot about the integrity of the (zero-tolerance) system that has been set up over a period of years between the district attorney's office of the various counties and the diocese of Pittsburgh."
Worshipers at St. Mary of Mercy Parish downtown expressed trust in Zubik on Wednesday afternoon.
"I cannot believe that this would happen to Bishop Zubik, and I am praying that this all just goes the right way for him because I trust in him," said Dennis Johnson, of Bethel Park.
"He's a good person. He's done a lot for us," said Joan Mastrandrea, of Mount Washington.
In an email to Mayo, Rock wrote, "I stand by my blog! It is really tough for me and my family right now. I have nothing more to say at this time."
From Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
Bishop Zubik described his accuser as "a complex individual" and said he had no intention of taking legal action against him.
"I assure you that I am concerned about the welfare of my accuser. At the same time, I expect that my integrity and the integrity of the Church I lead will be respected as well. I pledge my prayers for my accuser, and I ask your prayers for both of us," he said.
Both Bishop Zubik and this troubled individual are in my prayers.