PITTSBURGH — A 77-year-old former priest was arrested Tuesday for filming a 13-year-old boy who was in a bathroom stall at the Target in Pittsburgh’s East Liberty neighborhood, police said.
The boy’s father reported the incident to security at the store on Penn Avenue, and Pittsburgh police were called to further investigate.
According to a criminal complaint, the boy told investigators he noticed someone filming him from a bathroom stall next to the one he was using. He said a cellphone was held near a crack in the stall.
Paul Spisak, the man arrested, initially told store security that he was “just playing solitaire” on his phone, the complaint said. However, he later admitted to police that he photographed and filmed the boy in the bathroom.
Spisak is facing charges related to the sexual abuse of children, including possession of child pornography. He is also charged with invasion of privacy.
Spisak is a former priest that was named multiple times in the 2018 Pennsylvania grand jury report into sexual abuse related to the Catholic church. He was also convicted in a similar incident at South Hills Village Mall in 2006. In that incident, Spisak pleaded guilty to filming a man in a bathroom there.
Officials with the Diocese of Pittsburgh sent Channel 11 a statement:
The Diocese of Pittsburgh was not aware of the arrest of Paul Spisak until it was brought to our attention by the media. Paul Spisak has not been an active priest in the Diocese of Pittsburgh since 2002. He was removed from active ministry on February 22, 2002 and has not been involved with any ministry since 2002. Contrary to information listed in the Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report, again, Spisak has not been in ministry since 2002. As a resident of Saint John Vianney Manor, any violation of the conditions of his residence would lead to his removal from that residence.
A Target spokesperson sent this statement:
“The safety of our guests and team members is Target’s top priority and we have no tolerance for this kind of behavior in our stores. Our team called law enforcement immediately upon learning of the incident. We appreciate the Pittsburgh Police Department’s fast response and we and will provide whatever is needed as they investigate. Due to the ongoing nature of the investigation, please refer additional questions to law enforcement at this time.”
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