ROSS TOWNSHIP, Pa. - A Ross Township woman is claiming a visiting priest raped her at her home in 2016.
"I still wake up everyday because we don't know where he is. Where is this man? Is he on campus? Is he in Africa? Nobody can tell us," Kathy Coll said.
After the alleged attack, she went to a hospital and reported the rape to police.
She told 11 Investigates the priest was getting his PhD at Duquesne University, but living at her parish St. Teresa of Avila. He claimed it was consensual sex, but she says that's far from the truth.
Breaking: more legal trouble for the Pgh Catholic diocese as local church member files civil lawsuit accusing visiting priest of rape. Hear from the victim tonight at 5 #wpxi— Rick Earle (@WPXIRickEarle) June 5, 2019
"Not in any way. Not when you keep saying, 'No, no,'" she told 11 News.
Channel 11 has not named the priest because he is not facing criminal charges. The District Attorney's Office said Ross police conducted an investigation and "based on the evidence as it exists, we cannot move forward with any charges."
Coll has now filed a civil suit against the priest, the parish, Duquesne University and the Diocese of Pittsburgh.
"One of the things that we are hoping is that there are better strategies in place that will properly vet, properly screen these people coming over from foreign countries," Coll's attorney, Sharon Smith, said.
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A spokesman for the diocese said it cooperated fully with police and immediately removed the priest from the church and banned him from practicing. The spokesman also said Pittsburgh notified the bishop in Nigeria, where the priest is from.
The Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh released a statement about the allegations:
“Priests from across the world travel to Pittsburgh to study for advanced degrees at local universities. While here, they may also seek to take up residence in a local parish. In order to do so, the Diocese of Pittsburgh requires the testimony of their bishop that they are a priest in good standing, with no allegations of any inappropriate behavior made against them. Testimony of this kind is required any time a priest is going to travel for any period of time to another diocese.
Visiting priests are also required to undergo FBI Fingerprinting, the PA State Background Check and PA Statue Abuse History Clearance, as well as to complete Protecting God’s Children and Mandated Reporter training and to sign the diocesan Code of Pastoral Conduct.
Fr. (name removed) was one such student at Duquesne University. He had residence in a parish where he would assist in the celebration of the sacraments. His bishop testified to the fact that he was in good standing as a priest before he took up residence.
When the Diocese of Pittsburgh learned of the allegation against him he was immediately removed from the parish where he was in residence and his faculties were suspended. He cannot function as a priest or dress in clerical attire. He is not in active ministry in the Diocese of Pittsburgh. We also alerted Fr. (name removed)'s bishop in Nigeria of the allegation. No other allegations have been made against him.
Before bringing the allegation to the diocese, the victim had previously shared it with law enforcement and the diocese cooperated fully with both the Ross Township Police and the District Attorney’s Office in their investigation, which, to this point, has not resulted in any charges.
In addition, the Victims’ Assistance Coordinator of the diocese has been in ongoing contact with the victim to offer support as a result of the allegation.”
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