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Charges filed against priest accused of sexually assaulting boy at Plum parish in late 1990s

PITTSBURGH — A priest is facing charges after he was accused of sexually assaulting a boy, 8 years old at the time, on two different occasions at a parish in Plum in 1998.

Father Robert Cedolia is facing five charges, including two felonies. Court documents said the charges were filed after the victim told investigators the abuse occurred while he was attending training for his first communion at Our Lady of Joy. The second assault allegedly occurred about two weeks later at the same church.

In 2019, the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh announced there was a claim filed through the Reconciliation and Compensation Program related to these alleged incidents. Officials said that was the first time they learned of the complaint against Father Cedolia.

The diocese sent a statement to Channel 11:

“The Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh is aware of the legal process against Reverend Robert Cedolia.

“We first learned of a claim for compensation against Fr. Cedolia in 2019 through our Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program (IRCP). The basis for the claim dated back to the 1990s, while he served as pastor of Our Lady of Joy Parish in Plum. The diocese had never before received any complaint of sexual misconduct with a minor involving Fr. Cedolia.

“This claim was not made directly to the diocese. It was filed through the diocesan Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program. Following the established process for the IRCP, that claimant filed the accusation with the Office of the District Attorney of Allegheny County. When the Diocese learned that the claim was presented as an allegation to civil authorities, Fr. Cedolia was immediately placed on Administrative Leave, which means he has been unable to engage in public ministry, administer the sacraments, dress in clerical attire or identify himself as a priest since August 29, 2019.

“The Diocese will continue to respect the legal process and cooperate fully with any further investigation.

“Fr. Cedolia was in active ministry for 41 years. He denies the allegation. He remains on Administrative Leave as the legal process continues.”