A man referred to as John Doe MR* has filed a complaint against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Greensburg. In the complaint, Doe alleges that as a child he was repeatedly raped and otherwise sexually abused by a priest at St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church.
The priest, Father Joseph L. Sredzinski, was allowed by the Diocese of Greensburg to continue working in his priestly assignments with vulnerable children, even after the Diocese was made aware of his inappropriate involvement with minors. Clergy members, including Cardinal Donald Wuerl (former Bishop of the Diocese of Pittsburgh), have been named as co-conspirators in fraudulently concealing Catholic priest abuse. The full complaint is available upon request.
The Alleged Abuse
The suit, filed June 5, 2020, describes horrific abuse that continued for nearly 6 years. The abuse began in 1991, when Doe was 11 years old, and included exposing the victim to pornography, touching and kissing him, and eventually oral sex and sodomy.
Sredzinski also forced the plaintiff to perform fellatio on him, claiming the plaintiff was the priest’s servant through God and needed to internalize his seed. Sredzinski would invite other priests to the church rectory to sodomize the plaintiff at orgies.
“The abuse was horrific, and as a result, the plaintiff has suffered years of emotional stress and the life-long effects of trauma,” said Richard M. Serbin, one of the lawyers representing Doe’s case. “He was a child in need of guidance, and Sredzinski preyed on that. The Diocese ignored clear notice of his outrageous actions.”
Sredzinski took Doe, as well as other boys, to church-sponsored rallies and sporting events in Washington, D.C. They went on more than 30 trips to the city, and each time they shared a hotel room and slept in the same bed. The complaint is being filed in Washington, D.C., where many of the sexual assaults occurred.
Sredzinski served at Saint Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church from 1989 to 1999. He died in 2015.
Identified in the Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report
Sredzinski is identified in the Pennsylvania grand jury report on child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church released on August 14, 2018. According to the report, Tim Shoemaker, then mayor of Everson, PA, contacted Father Roger Statnick, then a priest of the Greensburg Diocese, in 1991 to inform Statnick of his concerns about Sredzinski’s inappropriate relationships with multiple local boys. Despite these reports, Father Sredzinski was allowed to continue serving the church and interacting with children.
“As with most victims of childhood sexual abuse, our client took years to come forward with his claim because of the fear and intimidation instilled by the perpetrator and those who enabled and concealed his actions,” said Andrew S. Janet of John Doe MR. “It wasn’t only Sredzinski’s actions that were unforgivable. It was also the church’s continuous lack of action that failed this child and inflicted suffering that would stay with him for decades after the abuse stopped. It stays with him even today.”
About Richard M. Serbin and Andrew S. Janet
Richard M. Serbin has more than 33 years of experience suing the Catholic Church and other religious denominations on behalf of child sexual abuse survivors. He is recognized as a trailblazer in the area of child sexual abuse by clergy, winning the only jury verdict in Pennsylvania against a bishop, Catholic diocese, and predatory priest. He has represented more than 400 abuse survivors across the U.S. He now heads the Sexual Abuse Division of Janet, Janet & Suggs, LLC (JJS).
Andrew S. Janet, Vice Chair of JJS’s Sexual Abuse Division, has worked with survivors of sexual abuse in cases involving priests, as well as the churches, dioceses, bishops, and orphanages that enabled the abuse to occur. He also draws from his experience working with abuse survivors in high-profile cases such as the actions filed against the University of Southern California regarding allegations of sexual misconduct by its former gynecologist, Dr. George Tyndall.
About Janet, Janet & Suggs, LLC
The Sexual Abuse Division of Janet, Janet & Suggs has represented thousands of men and women across the nation who were abused as children by trusted authority figures such as clergy members, priests, doctors, and coaches.
* The Plaintiff filed suit under a pseudonym to protect his identity.