Man sues Greensburg diocese over alleged abuse at hands of priest

GREENSBURG, Pa. — A man is suing the Diocese of Greensburg, accusing a priest of sexually abusing him over a period of time that began in the 1970s and the diocese of ignoring similar allegations.

The man, identified only as John Doe in the lawsuit, notes that the diocese was told about allegations of abuse by the same priest at least a decade before the plaintiff met him.

This summer’s landmark grand jury report documenting allegations of abuse in six Pennsylvania dioceses prompted the suit, which accuses the diocese of “fraudulent concealment” of the priest’s actions.

“It just triggered this overwhelming guilt and shame and stress," said his attorney, Alan Perer.

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Perer claims his client was abused beginning in the 1970s when he was 13 or 14 years old.

He was an alter boy at Saint Hyacinth Church in Monessen where Father Joseph Tamilowkso was in active ministry for years. Tamilowksi was one of the predator priests named in the grand jury report, but died in 1994.

Perer claims Tamilowski became a father figure to the boy, encouraged him to drink alcohol, took him on trips, showered with the boy and slept in the same bed.

“This priest was beloved by his family; by him. He took him to New York City for the first time. He bought him things. He treated him like a special son and he repressed a lot of this after he grew up,” Perer said.

Perer says they’re holding the diocese accountable because there’s reason to believe they knew about accusations into Tamilowksi before his client’s alleged abuse.

“All of this evidence of systemic abuse by all these priests, including this one, was hidden and kept in secret archives and could not have been discovered by anybody until now," Perer said. "It’s not fair to allow the diocese to hide all this evidence and say you’re too late to file a case.”