Leon T. Muroski
Diocese: Diocese of Erie
From the Report I of the 40th Statewide Investigating Grand Jury for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania:
Father Leon Muroski served the Diocese of Erie from 1960 through 2002. Most of his ministry was spent serving in Special Ministry as an Administrator for the Diocese and working with young people aspiring to become priests at St. Mark’s Seminary. After 20 years of administrative duties, Muroski finally got his own parish. This ministry lasted from 1982 until 1995, but was abruptly halted when in the early 1990s Muroski was accused of sexual misconduct while he was a Spiritual Director at the seminary. Muroski was sent to St. Luke’s Institute in Suitland, Maryland, for individual psychotherapy in 1994 after he admitted to inappropriate contact with the seminarians under his watch. These seminarians were all male, eighteen to twenty-three years old, when Muroski would counsel them. This counselling included allegations of full body massages, kissing, masturbation and fondling of the seminarians’ buttocks and genitals. Muroski would eventually be placed back into ministry after therapy at St. Luke’s and served in the Diocese of Erie and in The Christophers program in New York City.
While some of these seminarians were not legally juveniles at the time of their abuse, at least three of them were under Muroski’s tutelage. At this time Muroski and his fellow priest, Salvatore Luzzi (who also faced sexual misconduct allegations and was sent to SLI with Muroski), were assigned as Spiritual Directors to these seminarians.
In 1974-1975, Muroski and Luzzi were working at Camp Notre Dame in Fairview, Pennsylvania, when a young seminarian named Michael Amy (see Amy’s narrative) was accused of fondling two juveniles. These victims reported the incident to the Pennsylvania State Police, the Diocese of Erie Administration, and to their parents. The Diocese representative for this incident and Camp Notre Dame was Father. Lawrence Speice. Speice assisted Amy by interceding on Amy’s behalf with the State Police and the boy’s parents. No arrest was made and the Diocese does not have a file on the victims. Muroski and Luzzi dealt with Amy by directing him to go to counselling and keeping him in seminary. Amy would go on to abuse at least two more juveniles as an ordained priest, along with several other undocumented juvenile prostitutes before being laicized.
During Amy’s laicization process, he would call Speice, Muroski and Luzzi as his witnesses. Muroski denied knowledge of any wrongdoings by Amy. Speice and Luzzi both admitted some knowledge of Amy’s molestation of children in 1974-1975.
The sexual abuse of seminarians by Muroski and Luzzi cost the Diocese of Erie over $89,500.00 in civil payments to three former college seminarians were overseen by Muroski and Luzzi while they studied at St. Mark’s. Another former seminarian had several thousand dollars of counselling paid for by the Diocese over the course of many years.
Soon after Muroski finished his therapy at St. Luke’s, Bishop Trautman welcomed him back to pastoral ministry on February 22, 1995. This ministry came with several restrictions. Trautman restricted Muroski from contact with youth under the age of 19. In particular, Trautman specified restrictions on counselling, travelling, marriage preparation, recreation and socialization. This was ordered by penal precept dated the same date as Muroski’s welcome back letter.
Little was found on Muroski’s whereabouts or duties within the Diocese in 1995-1996, but in 1997, it was found that Muroski was serving in ministry for The Christophers in New York City. Once again, little is documented about his duties with The Christophers and it is unknown if The Christophers were notified of his past sexual involvement with young people in Erie.
In 2001, Muroski returned to the Diocese of Erie from The Christophers and was retired. Muroski was permitted to move into the retired priest home in 2002, which is where he still resides. In 2016, the Diocese rostered a list of all the retired clergy living in the home and made it public. Muroski was not listed as a resident. It was at this residence that the Grand Jury found him living in 2017, however.
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.