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Compensation fund now in effect for victims of priest sex abuse

PITTSBURGH — The Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh's Victim Compensation Fund is now in effect.

Dioceses across the state announced its creation last month.

The fund allows victims of priest sex abuse to receive monetary compensation, though none of the money comes directly from the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh.

Channel 11 obtained what's believed to be the first lawsuit against the diocese to be filed by a woman in the wake of a grand jury report released last summer.


The lawsuit claims the Rev. Paul Pindel, of Saint Genevieve's Catholic Church in Canonsburg, abused the victim when she was 15 or 16 years old.

In a lawsuit against the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh, Bishop David Zubik and Cardinal Donald Wuerl -- a woman known only as Jane Doe is alleging diocese leaders knew about allegations that Pindel sexually abused young men and women.

"I think this is the first filing since the grand jury report that involves a female victim,” said George Kontos, her attorney.

According to the complaint, when Jane Doe was a teenager, she got pregnant and decided to marry the child's father. She was told to get counseling from Pindel at St. Genevieve's Catholic Church in Canonsburg.

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The complaint describes her time alone with Pindel, saying he wanted her to describe how she became pregnant and asked her to tell him about specific sex acts.

She claimed he even put her hand on him  "and requested for her to show him how she became pregnant.”

“The priest in this instance held himself out as someone who was going to help her and counsel her through this and it turned out that he in turn victimized her in the most horrible of ways,” Kontos said.

Kontos has filed two others this month.

In one, Martin Nasiadka is suing the diocese for knowledge of sexual abuse by the Rev. Thomas O'Donnell, who has worked all across the Pittsburgh area since 1960.

“These actions have taken away childhoods from hundreds and hundreds of victims and, hopefully, this is a step in the right direction in terms of getting them justice," Kontos said.