Report: Ring of 'predatory priests' shared, photographed victims

Report: Ring of 'predatory priests' shared, photographed victims

HARRISBURG, Pa. — The 900-page grand jury report on priest sex abuse across six Catholic dioceses in Pennsylvania, including Pittsburgh and Greensburg Diocese, provides graphic allegations against hundreds of clergy members.

One story focuses on a ring of predatory priests with the Pittsburgh Diocese who allegedly shared information on victims and exchanged the victims among themselves, the report said.

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The priests used whips, violence and sadism in raping their victims, the report said.

According to the report, the priests also manufactured child pornography on Diocesan property, including parishes and rectories.

Reverends George Zirwas, Francis Pucci, Richard Zula and and Robert Wolk were named in the report as members of that ring of priests.

One victim was forced to stand on a bed in a parish rectory in Munhall in front of the reverends --Zirwas, Pucci, Zula, of the Pittsburgh Diocese, and Francis Luddy of the Altoona-Johnstown Diocese -- the report said.

The report stated that the victim was asked to remove his shirt pants and underwear, and pose as if he was Christ on the cross. The priests then took pictures of him while giggling.

The photos were then added to a collection of similar photographs depicting other teenage boys, the report said.


In 1988, Zula, Pucci and Wolk were charged with sexually assaulting to altar boys. Zula plead guilty and was sentenced up to five years in prison, the report said. Wolk was sentenced up to 10 years in prison.

Charges against Pucci were dropped because the criminal statute of limitations had expired.