Catholic Priest

Arthur R. Merrell

Ordained: 1970
Diocese: Diocese of Pittsburgh

From Report I of the 40th Statewide Investigating Grand Jury for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania:

In September, 1997, the Diocese of Pittsburgh received a report that Father Arthur R. Merrell had innapropriately touched a boy under the age of 15.  Merrell admitted to the inappropriate sexual act and withdrew from the priestly ministry in February, 1998.  The Diocese did not forward the information to the Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office.

A handwritten note in the file dated February 2, 1998, detailed a sexual relationship that Merrell had with “James,” a mentally ill man. “James” stated that he and Merrell masturbated together and that Merrell stuck his finger up his [James’] rectum and they kissed on several occasions.  Merrell admitted to these acts.

In a confidential memorandum dated July, 2014, Rita Flaherty of the Diocese recounted a meeting with Merrell wherein he minimized his inappropriate actions with minors and asked the Diocese for money.  The Diocese granted Merrell’s request for a “charitable gift of money” in the sum of $5,000.  In 2015, Merrell requested another sum of money from the Diocese.

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.