Catholic Priest

Fidelis Lazar

Diocese: Diocese of Pittsburgh

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

In October 1986, the Diocese of Pittsburgh received a report from an adolescent male that he had been sexually abused by Father Fidelis Lazar in June, 1986.  Lazar took this victim on overnight trips.  They slept in the same bed.  The victim stated Lazar kissed him and began touching the child’s genitals.  While in bed, Lazar pulled the victim close to him, close enough the victim felt the erect penis of Lazar.

In the same confidential summary, it was noted by Diocesan officials that Father Nicholas Dattilo, then Secretary for Clergy, confronted Lazar about the sexual abuse allegation. Lazar initially denied the allegation, stating the family was “troubled” and was singling him out. Dattilo sent Lazar to a Diocesan treatment facility for evaluation in November 1987.  While in treatment, the Diocese documented the summaries provided by the treating doctors. It was noted that Lazar admitted being sexually active with children after his ordination.

Lazar took a personal leave of absence from ministry citing health reasons. In September 1989, he withdrew from active ministry.  The Bishop determined Lazar could not continue in ministry due to the allegation and his diagnosis of Ephebophilia.  Ephebophilia is the primary sexual interest in mid-to-late adolescents.

In September 1994, another male contacted the Diocese and gave an in-person account of his abuse by Lazar.  He reported that he was only 15 or 16 years of age when Lazar sexually molested him.  He explained that Lazar had befriended his family.  There were many incidents where Lazar would kiss him, remove his pants and fondle his penis.  This occurred when Lazar was assigned at St. Joan of Arc.

In March 2002, the Diocese received an e-mail communication from a male asking for the status of Lazar.  This male reported that when Lazar was a Benedictine monk in the 1960’s, Lazar abused him while he was at St. Vincent’s Preparatory School in Latrobe.  The male was provided with the contact information for the Archabbot of the Benedictine Monks.

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.