Catholic Priest

Francis Pucci

Ordained: 1957
Diocese: Diocese of Pittsburgh

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

In April 2002 an allegation of sexual abuse was made to the Diocese of Pittsburgh.  An adult male revealed that Father Francis Pucci fondled him to the point of ejaculation in 1962 when he was a minor at St. Vitus school.

In February 2004, a sexual abuse allegation was made to the Washington County District Attorney’s Office.  An adult male advised that Pucci engaged in inappropriate sexual touching with him in 1988 at a church.  This occurred when he was a minor.

The Diocese received another allegation of sexual abuse in September 2007.  An adult male reported that Pucci engaged in inappropriate sexual touching with him when he was a minor.  This conduct occurred at a church in Coraopolis.  In information contained in the file suggested that the male never moved forward with the complaint after the initial allegation was made.

In November 2014, the Diocese received a report from an adult male that Pucci engaged in inappropriate sexual touching with him in 1981 to 1982 at a church in Corapolis. He stated that he was an altar server during that time period and Pucci would instruct him to wear either nothing or jock straps underneath his cassocks.  Pucci would also pat his buttocks along with the buttocks of other altar servers.   The male also reported this information to the Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office.

In December, 2014, an adult male reported to the Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office that Pucci engaged in inappropriate sexual touching with him when he was a minor.  He stated that the abuse occurred in 1981-1982 at a church in Allegheny County.

In May, 2016, the Washington County District Attorney’s Office received a report from a male who wished to remain anonymous.  The male alleged that Pucci had engaged in inappropriate sexual touching with him in 1983 at a church in McDonald.

Several months later, in October, 2016, an adult male reported to the Diocese that Pucci engaged in inappropriate sexual touching with him in 1980 at a church in Coraopolis.

Information pertaining to allegations of sexual abuse involving Pucci were also contained within the file of Father Robert Wolk.  Wolk was apparently a friend of Pucci’s in the Diocese. Wolk’s file contained the following information:

“In August 1988, two victims filed a lawsuit against the Pittsburgh Diocese.  The two victims name Father Robert Wolk as a defendant in the sexual assaults, along with Father Francis Pucci and Father Richard Zula, all of the Pittsburgh Diocese.   [Victim 1] alleges Pucci sexually assaulted him.   On or about September of 1988, the victims report the assaults to law enforcement.  In November 1988, Pucci was charged with sexually abusing [Victim 1].  More specific, in the summer of 1986, at the Marianna Parish House, where Zula resided at the time, Pucci touched and fondled [Victim 1’s] genitals.”

Acording to articles from the Associated Press and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

“Washington County District Attorney John Pettit, filed the sexual abuse charges against three Roman Catholic priests for allegedly molesting two brothers who were altar boys, and accused the church of foot-dragging during the investigation.  ‘It was not the spirit of cooperation we would like to see,’ Pettit said, calling it ‘minimal at best.’

Pittsburgh Bishop Donald W. Wuerl denied the allegation, saying, ‘I think the diocese has made every effort to be cooperative.’

Pettit charged the Rev. Richard F. Zula, 47, former pastor at Sts. Mary and Ann Church in Marianna; the Rev. Robert Wolk, a former paster and diocesan assistant chancellor of St. Thomas More Church in the Pittsburgh suburb of Bethel  Park;  and  the  Rev.  Francis  Pucci,  former  pastor  of  Immaculate Conception Church in Washington. All three men have been relieved of their pastoral duties.

In more than 150 counts, Pettit alleged that the priests sexually abused the two boys from 1981 to 1987. The homosexual acts allegedly took place in a barn, a church basement, a parked car and at a mountain resort.

Pettit said investigators do not believe the three priests acted in concert, although Zula and Pucci were charged with one count each of conspiracy because Pucci allegedly knew of Zula’s intentions when he let Zula use his bedroom at a parish home to have sex with one of the youths.

Some of the incidents involved whips, chains, drugs and alcohol, Pettit said. Pucci also was charged with conspiracy for allowing the Rev. Richard Zula to have sexual activity with one of the boys at the Our Lady of Lourdes parish house in Burgettstown, Washington County, in 1986. At the time, Father Pucci was pastor there.”

The charges against Father Pucci were dropped after officials determined the statute of limitations had expired.

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.