Michael J. Amy
Diocese: Diocese of Erie
From the Report I of the 40th Statewide Investigating Grand Jury for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania:
Between 1974 and 1975, Father Michael Amy–a Seminarian at the time–worked as a camp counselor at Camp Notre Dame in Fairview. In an October 25, 1993 letter to the Diocese of, Amy wrote:
“I took the opportunity to touch the genitals of several boys at night. Two, at least were aware of my fondling. In 1974 one of them ran away because of my molesting him. The PA State Police were involved in the search. When he was found, he spoke of the molesting.”
Amy went on to describe how he was initially taken into custody by the State Police but was not arrested, nor were charges ever brought against him.
Amy was ordained on August 11, 1978, and served in over eight parishes over the course of the next 14 years. He later admitted that while serving as a priest he was involved with male prostitutes in the Erie area, as well as in Pittsburgh and Baltimore. Many of these male prostitutes were minors.
In December 1991, a male contacted the Diocese to report that he met Amy in the early 1980s when he was 14-years-old. He and Amy met in Erie on West 18th street, which was an area known for prostitution at that time. The male reported that he was an underage prostitute dealing with substance abuse issues at that time. Amy gave him money and, in exchange, they would engage in sexual contact, sometimes at the rectory of Holy Trinity Church. Bishop Trautman sent Amy to St. Luke’s Institute for psychiatric treatment following this report.
In 1993, the Diocese acted to remove Amy. At the laicization proceeding, Father Sal Luzzi and Father Leon Muroski, who were spiritual counselors to Amy and other seminarians were asked to fill out a questionnaire about Amy. Additionally, Father Lawrence T. Speice, a member of the Board of Directors at Camp Notre Dame in the 1970’s, was asked to complete a questionnaire. The questionnaire asked nineteen questions about the depth of the relationship they had with Amy, as well as Amy’s background, work ethic, and moral character.
One question asked, “Has his conduct as a priest ever been a source of scandal or wonderment?” Part of Luzzi’s answer stated that he [Luzzi] was “amazed that [Amy] was made a pastor in a place where something happened before,” and that “there certainly should have been something in his Seminary day files.” Luzzi added, “I personally wondered when these things would resurface.”
In Muroski statement, he flatly denied any knowledge of Amy’s predatory behavior at Camp Notre Dame. This behavior included the very incident that he, Luzzi and Speice helped to cover up by interceding with the victims’ parents and the Pennsyvlania State Police. Muroski wrote, “Not to my knowledge. In fact, I’ve heard positive comment about him. I believe he’s a hard and conscientious worker.”
On September 29, 1993, Speice answered the same question by writing, “It is my understanding now that Mike’s conduct through the years may have caused scandal or wonderment to some extent to some persons. I know no detail in this regard and am aware of the possibility only after the fact.” He then adds, “One instance before ordination is a dim memory of mine and probably was a source of scandal at that time.”
After Amy’s laicization process was finally concluded, an additional allegation was made against him stemming from an incident that happened in the early 1980s while the victim was a high school student at Erie Cathedral Preparatory. The victim e-mailed the Diocese on December 3, 2002 to report his molestation by Amy. He described how he had regarded Amy as a friend, mentor, and someone who always took time to listen to him. Then, one day when Amy got him alone in a confessional booth, Amy questioned him about touching himself. Amy then went on to fondle the victim on more than one occasion.
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.