Catholic Priest

Charles B. Guth

Diocese: Diocese of Greensburg

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

On July 31, 2005, an adult male sent an e-mail communication to Father Roger Statnick of the Diocese of Greensburg with the subject line entitled, “abuse memory.” In this message, the victim shared the details of abuse he suffered at the hands of Father Charles Guth when Guth was assigned to Holy Family in West Newton. The e-mail message was forwarded to Monsignor Lawrence Persico.

In his message, the victim revealed that while living in West Newton when he was around seven years old, he was told by a Sunday school teacher that missing mass could make you die. Concerned for his mother who was missing mass, the victim went down to the church to plead the case of his mother.  The victim related that “Father Gooth” (Guth) took the victim into the rectory office where Guth sat in a chair as the victim stood before him, sobbing and pleading for his mother’s soul.

Guth asked the victim whether he believed that Jesus suffered and died for our sins, in response to which the victim said “of course” as that is what he was taught.  Guth talked about penance and having crosses to bear and asked the victim if he would do anything to save his mother. Guth then spoke of secret confessions and penance before reaching over and unbuckling the victim’s pants, pulling them down, fondling him, and sticking his finger up the victim’s anus.

The victim believed Guth then spoke in Latin. The victim stated he was frozen stiff when the abuse was occurring and that when Guth was done, he was instructed to pull up his pants and that if he told anyone about the secret penance, not only would his mother go to hell, but he [the victim] would burn with her.  Guth then gave the victim a nickel and warned him again not to say anything to anyone or his whole family would burn in hell.

The victim stated he was in therapy as a result of his abuse by Guth but stopped going when his insurance refused to pay for his sessions.  He explained he was suffering and withdrawing from people and that he had shared his story with another priest and a support group, but was angry, scared, lonely, and felt betrayed.

Persico responded to the victim’s e-mail message, telling him he was willing to assist and wanted to meet to discuss his issues. The victim replied that he was not yet ready to meet face-to-face. About six weeks later, on September 27, 2005, Father Job Foote, O.S.B., who was separately described by the victim as “my friend and semi mentor,” wrote an e-mail to Persico indicating that he had spoken with the victim and while the victim appreciated Persico’s attention to the matter, he would not contact him again and was in therapy.

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.