Catholic Priest

Edward P. Smith

Ordained: 0
Diocese: Diocese of Pittsburgh

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

Several legal documents contained in Diocesan records revealed that Father Edward P. Smith was accused of sexually abusing a 16-year-old female during the time period when he was assigned to Sacred Heart. The girl reported that the abuse occurred in the church rectory when Smith counseled her. The abuse included Smith “fondling her breasts and her genitals.” The documents also stated that the girl:

“[B]elieved that it would be sinful or wrong to make any kind of accusation against a priest or a bishop; and that priests and bishops could not and would not engage in conduct considered evil or wrong or illegal.

A section of the legal documents was entitled “Fraud and Concealment.”  Within that section, several allegations were made including the following:

  • In furtherance of their own interest, including the continued financial support of parishioners, the primary concern of Diocesan Defendants has been the protection of the reputation of its priests and therefore its Diocese, including Father Smith.”
  • Diocesan Defendants have concealed the danger the predator clerics presented by misrepresenting them as priests in good standing in the following ways:
    1. Enabling their continued unrestricted access to minors;
    2. Assigning them and/or allowing them to reside and serve at parishes and/or schools within the Diocese;
    3. Allowing them  free  and  unrestricted  use  of  premises  of  the Diocese for otherwise unchaperoned activities with minors;
    4. Assigning them to duties specifically involving minors;
    5. Announcing to the public or allowing offending clerics to give the public less disagreeable or less serious reasons for leaving an assignment  or  position,  other  than  sexual  misconduct  with children;
    6. Promoting offending clerics within the church hierarchy;
    7. Privately assuring  concerned  parents  that  offending  cleric’s problems would be taken care of;
    8. Providing and/or subsidizing education, maintenance and/or living arrangements for offending clerics after removal from their assignments or upon their suspension;
    9. Continuously listing  offending  clerics  in  official  directories and/or publications by phrases such as absent on leave, advanced studies, special assignment or retired after removal or transfer from their assignment or suspension for sexual misconduct with children; and
    10. Allowing offending clerics to honorably retire.

On November 5, 2007, the Diocese of Pittsburgh entered a settlement with 31 individuals for the total amount of $1.25 Million.

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.