Catholic Priest

Henry J. Marcinek

Diocese: Diocese of Greensburg

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

In November of 2007, a 45-year-old male sent a letter to the parish in Fayette County alleging that he had been sexually assaulted by Father Henry Marcinek.  The abuse allegedly began in approximately 1972, when the victim was around ten years old and attending the Holy Rosary school.  The abuse continued until the early 1980’s.

The victim wrote to the Diocese of Greensburg detailing his deep depression and problems with nerves stemming from the abuse he suffered at the hands of Marcinek, including bed wetting into adulthood, suffering from hives and other skin disorders, as well as significant family-related problems.  He stated, “I don’t remember the last time I laughed” and “I try to fake a smile as much as possible.” Out of a feeling a desperation, he had reached out to the church for “mental help.”

On November 14, 2007, the victim was interviewed by Monsignor Lawrence Persico. As detailed in a typed account of an interview, the victim detailed how Marcinek regularly requested that he, an altar server, carry firewood to the rectory, where Marcinek would have oral sex with him. A year or two after the abuse began, Marcinek took the victim to his cabin, where he provided him with alcohol and attempted to have anal sex with him. The victim stated that it would not work and hurt, so they proceeded with performing oral sex on each other.

The victim explained that Marcinek had the complete trust of his family. Marcinek exploited that trust by taking the victim on vacations where he would share a bed with him. For example, when the victim was around age 11, Marcinek took him to Sea World and Geauga Lake amusement park in Ohio.  They stayed in a hotel room together and Marcinek sexually abused him. They similarly took a trip to Niagara Falls where they shared a room together.

The victim explained that Marcinek bestowed gifts and money upon him, including a car when victim was older, which was registered in Marcinek’s name.  The victim confided that he liked receiving money from Marcinek because his family was very poor.  The victim worried that Marcinek may have targeted the victim’s brother as well, in that the victim overheard him say that “Father Henry kissed me on the lips and he kissed me real hard.”

According to the victim, Marcinek’s abuse was deeply degrading and caused profound and long-lasting damage to his emotional and psychological well-being. For example, he shared the following with Persico: “You want to hear the low down, how disgusting our world is, I peed in his mouth, because he used to cum in mine and I thought that was what I was supposed to do.” He felt that “he was fricking prostituting himself, basically at the age of 12-13.”

The victim reported that he confronted Marcinek as an adult and that Marcinek told him he had washed his hands of him.

The victim requested the Diocese’s assistance in helping him move out of the country and/or help him get his driver’s license back. He further let Persico know he blamed the church for “ruining my life. I have not relaxed since I was 10 years old, I have been fighting and full of rage and it was a pretty miserable existence that I spent on this earth.” He accused the church of breeding pedophiles, saying:

“It was just rampant, disgusting . . . it had to be so rampant that none of you guys could say you did not know what was going on, not a one. You can’t say there was not a lot of pedophile shit going on . . .”

The Church ultimately settled with the victim for $10,000 and he was to receive 90 sessions of counseling.

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.