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Pittsburgh prosecutor: Sex assault report baseless

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Bishop David A. Zubik of Pittsburgh. (CNS photo/Nancy Wiechec)

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PITTSBURGH -- Beaver County District Attorney Anthony Berosh said he found no basis "in law or fact" to sustain allegations made by a former student that Pittsburgh Bishop David A. Zubik sexually assaulted him while he was vice principal of Quigley Catholic High School in Baden in the 1980s.

Berosh held a news conference Oct. 5, a few hours after Bishop Zubik at a news conference of his own denied the accusation made on a website that he had sexually assaulted the student.

Berosh said he called his news conference to address the issue of the allegations made against Bishop Zubik.

"I would like at the onset to indicate that in my opinion there is no basis at law or fact to substantiate the allegation," Berosh said.

"I might point out the allegation was brought to our attention not by the alleged victim in this case, but by the Diocese of Pittsburgh itself," he added. "I believe that says a lot about the integrity of the system that has been set up over the period of years between the district attorney's office in the various counties of western Pennsylvania and the Diocese of Pittsburgh."

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The accusation against Bishop Zubik was made in late August by a Beaver County man to his pastor.

The accusation came after his pastor informed him that he was ineligible for parish liturgical service because he had not passed a required criminal background check.

The accuser then told his pastor that "there is one more thing I have to do. I have to bring down somebody who is pretty high up."

Bishop Zubik insisted that the accusation be turned over to the Beaver County district attorney in accordance with diocesan policy. The information was received by the district attorney on Sept. 1.

The bishop also directly informed the apostolic nunciature of the accusation at a Sept. 12 meeting in Washington. That information then was forwarded to the Vatican. The accusation also was turned over to the independent Diocesan Review Board.

When representatives of the district attorney's office attempted to interview the alleged victim regarding his allegations, he did not respond, Berosh said.

"I might add that this individual was well-known to our office prior to any of these events occurring," Berosh told media at his news conference. "I think it's incumbent and very important to note that at no time -- at no time -- did he reach out to any law enforcement authority or the police to report these conditions. The reporting went to the Diocese of Pittsburgh."

Berosh said that "based on 30 years' experience, I have never heard of a more convoluted, extenuated series of stories in order to justify the recollection and now-made allegations against the bishop of the Diocese of Pittsburgh."

"He's making these allegations and not coming to us and telling us what happened. I think that speaks volumes for what he has to say. I really do," Berosh concluded.

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