John W. Rebel
Diocese: Diocese of Pittsburgh
From Report I of the 40th Statewide Investigating Grand Jury for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania:
The Diocese of Pittsburgh received a report that Father John W. Rebel molested a boy in the 1970’s. The abuse occurred in the boy’s bedroom when he was 10 to 12 years of age. It happened after a “home mass.” The file contained a memorandum dated March 18, 2009, that revealed that Diocesan officials met with the parents of the victim who advised that their son (now deceased) told them of the abuse years after it happened. They stated that Rebel would often drive their son home after CCD. The memorandum stated that while his parents did not know for certain what occurred during those rides, it became clear from their son’s level of emotion and sobbing, that sexual abuse may have occurred. Their son begged them to not make him go to CCD classes. The parents reported that after the abuse, their son became withdrawn from his family and friends.
On March 27, 2009, Diocesan officials confronted Rebel with the allegations. Rebel stated that while he remembered the victim’s parents, he had no recollection of their children nor having a “home mass” at their residence. He denied taking the victim for rides in his car after CCD classes.
On May 28, 2009, the victim’s parents met with Bishop Zubik and recounted their son’s abuse. Zubik advised that he had spoken to Rebel and that he had denied harming their son. Zubik also stated that he felt that Rebel was telling him the truth. In the end, while Zubik believed what their son had alleged, he felt that perhaps the abuse was committed by another priest. Zubik stated that after reviewing church records, it was in all likelihood that another priest was the parish priest at the time when the abuse occurred. He advised the family that the church would conduct more research.
Based on the files presented in response to the subpoena, it does not appear that any further investigation was conducted.
In a letter dated August 13, 2009, counsel for the Diocese forwarded information to the Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office pertaining to allegations made against clergy members. The allegation involving Rebel was included.
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.