Diocese: Diocese of Pittsburgh
From Report I of the 40th Statewide Investigating Grand Jury for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania:
On April 22, 2004, the Diocese of Pittsburgh received a telephone call from a 54-year- old female who reported that she was sexually abused by Father Albert McMahon when she was approximately 11 years of age. She explained that she went to St. Pamphilus in order to play. While there, “Father Albert” always showed her a lot of attention and that on a few occasions, he would have her sit on his lap. He would then fondle her breasts and genitals. She noted that Father Albert smelled of alcohol.
The Diocese contacted Father Campagna, Provincial Minister for the Province of the Immaculate Conception, in New York where McMahon was living at the time. On October 22, 2004, Campagna sent a letter to the female which stated, in part:
“Once again I need to reiterate that I have not ignored, nor disbelieved, your accusations made against Father McMahon. If that were the case, I would not have removed him from active ministry. At the present time, Father McMahon does not enjoy participation in active ministerial priesthood, based solely on your complaint . . .I also assure you, as I have from the very beginning, I committed myself to provide for an appropriate time, access to therapeutic counseling that will hopefully bring some healing to your life.”
On January 10, 2014, a 63-year-old adult male contacted the Diocse to report that in the mid-1960’s, when he was approximately 11 to 14 years of age, he served as an altar boy at St. Pamphilus. That is where he met McMahon. He stated that “Father Albert” would invite the altar boys to his friary room on Saturdays in order to wrestle. To the best of his knowledge, Father Albert would always invite the boys to wrestle with him individually, never in a group.
The male reported that when they would wrestle, McMahon would always get on top of him and that McMahon would always have an erection.
The male was offered counseling and advised that the allegation would be forwarded to the District Attorney’s office where the incident occurred (Allegheny County).
On January 14, 2014, the Diocese sent a letter to Father Primo Piscitello, Provincial Minister for the Province of the Immaculate Conception. The letter stated, in part:
“As I promised, I am including with this letter a copy of my file memo on the allegation I received against Father Albert McMahon, OFM. I am also including the brief notification we make to the District Attorney’s Office in Allegheny County. As I mentioned, this is part of our policy here in the Diocese of Pittsburgh. . . I shared with [the male] that Father Albert is no longer in ministry given his age and current struggles with the onset of dementia. . . . I shared with him that you had been very honest in telling me that Father Albert had complaints about his behavior in the past but none that would be considered sexual abuse.”
On January 31, 2014, Bishop David Zubik addressed a letter to parishioners at St. Pamphilus that explained that allegations had been made against McMahon. The contact information for the abuse hotline was provided in the event that a parishioner was harmed by McMahon.
On February 5, 2014, a 64-year-old male contacted the Diocese to advise that he became aware of the fact that a letter was read and distributed at St. Pamphilus concerning McMahon. He reported that when he was approximately 12 to 13 years of age, he would wrestle with McMahon. He recalled that McMahon would have an erect penis and would attempt to put it in his “behind.” At first, the wrestling seemed innocent; however, once he realized that McMahon had an erect penis near his “back side,” he got out of the rectory and never came back.
On February 17, 2014, the male met with Rita Flaherty, Bishop Waltersheid and Father Eckman. The male recounted two incidents of abuse. During the first incident, while he was wrestling with McMahon, his hand slightly passed over McMahon’s penis. He did not know if McMahon did this on purpose, or if it was an accident. During the second incident, McMahon placed him on his lap. McMahon had an erection at the time. According to a confidential memorandum in the file documenting this meeting, the male was very tearful at times while telling his story. At the conclusion of the meeting, Diocesan officials offered counseling to him. They further advised that his allegations had been forwarded to the Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office and the Provincial for the Franciscan community.
The Diocese ultimately provided up to 90 counseling sessions for the male over a three year period.
No information could be located within the files as to whether if/when McMahon was confronted with any/all of the allegations.
Additional information regarding the widespread sexual abuse of children within the Catholic Dioceses of Pennsylvania and the systemic cover up by senior church officials is compiled in the Pennsylvania Diocese Victim’s Report published by the Pennsylvania Attorney General following a two-year grand jury investigation. A complete copy of the Report is available on the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s website.