Top Stories

Abuse victim takes own life after Pittsburgh Diocese cut off payments for counseling

PITTSBURGH — The Pittsburgh Diocese is defending decisions to cut off payments for abuse victims going through counseling.

Frances Samber has spent the last eight years fighting to tell the story her brother never had the chance to share.

"Every victim who has suffered at the hands of the diocese needs their story told in the court of law," Samber said.

Michael Unglo struggled for years after being sexually assaulted by his priest.

At one point, the diocese agreed to pay for counseling and treatment, but those payments came to an end in spring of 2010.

"We were actually alerted during a therapy session and it kind of sent him into a spiral," Samber said.


A couple of weeks later, Unglo took his own life.

In the grand jury report, 11 Investigates found several examples of the diocese cutting off payments to abuse victims.

One section detailing accusations against the Rev. Robert Caselucci of Pittsburgh reads:

"In January 2015, assistance coordinator Rita Flaherty sent a letter to the victim's former therapist which indicated that the Diocese was moving towards a more time-limited approach to the therapy they would cover. The Diocese would offer a limitation of three years or 90 sessions for alleged victims."

11 Investigates questioned diocese spokesman the Rev. Ron Lengwin about the policy, which he still defends.

"When it reaches like a million dollars you have to say are you getting the right treatment? Do you still need it?" Lengwin said.