Diocese: Diocese of Erie
From the Report I of the 40th Statewide Investigating Grand Jury for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania:
The Grand Jury reviewed the files of the Diocese of Erie with respect to Father Dennis Chludzinski. The record contained evidence that the Diocese became aware of sexual misconduct by Chludzinski as early as 1984 that occurred while he was on the faculty of Villa Maria High School.
In notarized testimony to the Diocese of Erie, Chludzinski admitted that in 1984, while he was assigned as a Chaplain at Mercyhurst High School, he had inappropriate sexual contact with an 18-year-old boy in his senior year. He stated that the abuse occurred in 1984, possibly extending into 1985. In a letter dated January 30, 1991 addressed to Bishop Donald Trautman and detailing his progress in therapy, Chludzinski admitted that he and a friend engaged in sexual contact with an 18-year-old male from his high school. This included mutual masturbation and oral sex. The sexual contact occurred approximately four times.
Similarly, in notarized testimony, Chludzinski admitted that after being granted a leave from the Chaplain position at Mercyhurst High School, he became sexually involved with a 14- year-old boy for approximately nine months. He stated that this abuse occurred in 1984 and possibly 1985. The victim said that Chludzinski introduced him to his homosexual lifestyle.
Finally, a letter dated July 26, 2004 to Monsignor Robert J. Smith, Vicar General, from Monsignor Mark L. Bartchak reported that a father recently discovered that Chludzinski had molested his young son years ago during a camping trip. A file note dated September 20, 2004, written by Smith, records that he and Bartchak met with the victim on September 17, 2004. The victim reported that he met Chludzinski while he was an altar boy at Our Lady of Mercy. He said that Chludinski kissed him, touched his genitals, and engaged in oral sex with him on at least one occasion. On another occasion, Chludzinski shoved his hands down the victim’s pants while driving a car. The abuse happened for about six months between the years 1983 and 1985 and occurred approximately six times. The victim reported that another altar boy was also abused.
On October 1, 2004, Bishop Trautman notified the Erie County District Attorney’s Office of the allegation.
In a memorandum to file dated October 2, 2004, Bishop Trautman memorialized that he had called and informed Chludzinski of the allegation. Chludzinski replied, “Sorry.” A second handwritten note by Trautman stated, “On Oct. 6 Dennis Chuldzinski called and admitted sexual involvement with (the victim).”
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.