Garfield Priest Accused Of Sexual Abuse

KDKA TV-3 News CBS, Pennsylvania/April 17, 2012

Pittsburgh -- Parishioners at St. Lawrence O'Toole in Garfield were expecting to see long-time priest Father James Graham at mass on Sunday.

Instead, they were read a letter about sexual abuse allegations against the 72-year-old pastor.

Father Ron Lengwin, the spokesman for the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh, told KDKA's Kym Gable the alleged abuse happened in the late 1960′s.

The accuser just came forward recently. Lengwin says the accusation is considered "credible."

"We thought it to be credible," he told KDKA-TV. "We met with that person face-to-face on Friday morning, Friday afternoon met with Father Graham and he was removed from the ministry immediately because of the credibility."

Graham is on administrative leave during the investigation, which also involves the Allegheny County District Attorney's office.

SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, supports victims of clergy abuse. Fran Samber is one of the Pittsburgh leaders.

"I want parishioners to know that it is okay for them to go question the leaders of the Catholic Church," she said. "It is okay to demand to know, 'Well, what is the follow-up?'"

"There is no price tag on any of these victims and they need support," she added.

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