HORRIFYING

Lawsuit: Church Allowed Pedophile Priest to Return to Ministry

A 29-year-old man is suing former Pennsylvania priest Bruno Tucci, along with current and former Catholic Church officials, for alleged sexual abuse he endured between 1999 and 2001. Tucci is among the 301 priests named in a recent Pennsylvania grand-jury report that claims more than 1,000 victims were abused by priests over the past several decades. Unlike the vast majority of these cases, the alleged victim’s case falls within the statute of limitations for prosecution in Pennsylvania. The lawsuit—which also names the Allentown Diocese Bishop Alfred Schlert, former Bishop Edward Cullen, and a treatment center for priests—alleges that Tucci groped the man, identified as “John Doe,” when he was between the ages of 10 and 12 and an altar boy at Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Nesquehoning.

According to the grand-jury report, the diocese first became aware of sexual-misconduct allegations against Tucci in 1991, after he’d been a priest for 20 years. When confronted, Tucci admitted the abuse but claimed it was “just touching” and not “sodomy,” the report said. He was then sent to a treatment center for priests with personal problems, only to be released to another Pennsylvania parish a year later. The lawsuit states that Tucci had skin-to-skin contact with Doe, whom he told to put his arms out “like Jesus on the cross” before undoing his pants and fondling him. Tucci remained in ministry until 2002, when he chose to retire. Several other male victims have come have come forward over the years making similar claims against Tucci.