Diocese of Steubenville Checking Pennsylvania Priest Abuse List for Local Links

WHEELING — It’s not yet known if any priests named in a Pennsylvania grand jury report ever served in the Diocese of Steubenville, but diocesan officials are checking the lists of alleged offenders.

“I’m going through all the databases very closely,” Dino Orsatti, spokesman for the diocese, said Thursday. “We have several people checking the lists.”

If any connection to the local diocese is found, “I’m going to release it to everyone,” he said.

Calling the abuse “horrific,” Orsatti said if any local links were to be discovered, “we want to bring it out as fast as we can.”

The grand jury report, released Tuesday, detailed abuse by more than 300 “predator priests” in six Roman Catholic dioceses in Pennsylvania. Among the priests investigated were 99 from the Diocese of Pittsburgh and 20 from the Diocese of Greensburg.

The report identified two priests with ties to West Virginia: the Rev. Raymond Lukac, from the Diocese of Greensburg, who later served at a Clarksburg church in the mid-1960s, and the Rev. David F. Dzermejko, from the Diocese of Pittsburgh, who allegedly visited Wheeling bars with a teen boy in the late 1980s.

Tim Bishop, spokesman for the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, said Thursday the diocese is not aware of any links to other priests mentioned in the grand jury report.