Catholic Priest

Fabian G. Oris

Diocese: Diocese of Greensburg

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

In an April 16, 2002 letter to Bishop Anthony Bosco, a woman alleged that Father Fabian Oris sexually abused her beginning when she was around four or five years old until she was approximately 12 years of age.  Her parents were friends with Oris as her father had attended high school with him.

According to the victim, Oris fondled and performed oral sex on her while they shared the same bed in the St. Hedwig rectory. Oris also forced her to fondle him, which caused Oris to have an erection. Oris took her on trips locally and out of state, including to the New York State Fair and Atlantic City, New Jersey. Their relationship was sufficiently close that other children in her class would tease her that she was sleeping with a priest.

The abuse continued even after Oris was transferred to St. Florian in United. She related that Oris explained “the birds and the bees” and told her, “I want to make you my woman.” She began to cry and ran to another room.

The victim reported that Oris sexually abused her older sister, as well.  According to a memorandum from Father Lawrence Persico dated April 23, 2002 regarding a telephone call detailing the abuse, “it wasn’t until she (the victim) was 18 and visited her sister in Florida, that in the course of conversation this relationship with Father Oris came up.” Oris frequently asked the girls’ parents if the older sister could stay overnight with him at the St. Hedwig rectory because he was lonely. The abuse began when the older sister was in third or fourth grade and continued until she was in fifth grade.

According to an April 25, 2002 memorandum by Persico, Oris stopped inviting the older sister to the rectory because he began inviting another one of her younger sisters to stay with him instead.

Oris frequently fondled and slept in the same bed as the older sister.  She reported that her family frequently watched television at the rectory, since Oris had a color television. During these occasions, Oris forced her to sit on his lap and slid his hands up her skirt. She stated that her parents either did not notice or did not want to address the issue.

The Diocese notified Oris of the allegation and instructed him that he was no longer permitted to publicly present himself as a priest. Although Oris claimed to not recall any details of the allegations, he did apologize.  As indicated in his file:

“He [Oris] said I have been praying all these years, asking god that they forgive me, asking all these girls to forgive me . . . he added I’m praying for them and I am sorry for what I have done. I am deeply sorry. I never thought that it would come to this, but young girls are pretty and they throw themselves at you, you say thing and do things I guess I never meant to hurt anybody. Their mother knew, but never said anything. I asked him if she knew that he sexually abused them and he said no, but she knew that they came to the rectory to sleep overnight.”

In 2014, an additional victim alleged that Oris kissed her on the mouth when she was approximately 10 or 11 years old in 1977 or 1978. This additional victim attended St. Mary in Uniontown and was sent to the rectory by her principal for disciplinary action on approximately five occasions. It was during these meetings that Oris kissed her on the mouth. While the incident was reported to the Fayette County District Attorney’s Office, the Diocese took no further action because Oris had died in 2007.

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.