Catholic Priest

Robert Moslener

Diocese: Diocese of Greensburg

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

Father Robert Moslener was ordained into the Diocese of Greensburg in May of 1976. He thereafter served in a variety of capacities within the Diocese through 2002, including as a school teacher in the 1980’s. His tenure in the Diocese was marred by the sexual abuse of children nearly from its outset when, in 1979 and 1980, he acknowledged engaging in “inappropriate behavior” with a 15-year-old victim (Victim One) and was sent for an evaluation. While information regarding this incident in Moslener’s Diocesan file was limited, it is clear that William Connare was notified of Moslener’s contact with the 15-year-old boy but nevertheless permitted him to return to his ministry.  According to internal Diocesan documents associated with this incident, the Diocese viewed Moslener’s abuse of Victim One in the following manner: “incident with the 15-year-old boy may well have represented an unacceptable yet understandable waystation on his path to more adult sexual integration.”

Numerous allegations of child sexual abuse were levied against Moslener six years later. Diocesan records indicated that, in 1986, several elementary to middle school aged children provided statements to the Diocese regarding what Moslener had been teaching in his religion class.  The children advised that, among other things, Moslener asked them if they masturbated and described how Mary had to “bite off the cord” and “lick” Jesus after he was born to clean him off.  One letter made clear that Moslener was discussing the physical effects of masturbation with a child.

On May 26, 1986, Klinzing sent a confidential memorandum to Connare.   In this memorandum, Klinzing recommended that Moslener be put “on ice” due to the complaints made by these children. In May 1986, Connare dispatched Moslener to a psychologist for the purpose of an evaluation.

In April 1986, the North Huntingdon Township Police Department advised the Diocese that Moslener had been investigated for committing sexual acts against male juveniles and that they had “records on file to substantiate the charges.”  Diocesan records make reference to sexual contact with a 16-year-old boy (Victim Two) around this time. There are no records indicating Moslener was prosecuted for his conduct.

In 1987, Moslener was sent, over his objection, to St. Luke’s Institute for an evaluation. Klinzing notified Connare via a confidential internal memorandum dated March 24, 1987, that Moslener “was involved in an inordinate way with a 16-year-old boy in the North Huntingdon area and there is a police record verifying this.” Klinzing also noted that “Father Moslener was involved with another individual at the St. Joseph Parish in New Kensington.”   In this memorandum, Klinzing explicitly asked Connare whether Moslener was a risk to children.

Moslener was subsequently assigned as Chaplain of a retirement home from 1988 to 1992. From 1992 to 2002, however, he served as an active pastor in parishes in the Diocese. He was assigned as pastor of St. Patrick’s Church in Brady’s Bend, Clarion County, from 1992 to 1996 and at St. Mary Church and Sacred Heart Church in Yatesboro, Armstrong County, from 1996 to 2002.

An internal Diocesan document detailing the timeline of Moslener’s career indicated that, in 1999, another victim (Victim Four) contacted the Diocese and disclosed sexual abuse perpetrated by Moslener. The next entry or event appearing in Moslener’s file was his removal from the priesthood in 2002. Thus, despite Victim Four’s complaint and the numerous complaints of child sexual abuse levied against Moslener over the years, he was permitted to remain in active ministry.

In March 2002, two months after the January 2002 publication of a Boston Globe article detailing accounts of clergy sexual abuse in the Archdiocese of Boston, Bosco placed Moslener on administrative leave. On August 1, 2002, Bosco resigned as Bishop of the Diocese of Greensburg.

In 2003, yet another victim came forward with an allegation of sexual abuse by Moslener (Victim Five). Finally, in 2004, newly-installed [REDACTED] requested that the Vatican dismiss Moslener from the clerical state.

In 2013, the Diocese received an email from an individual (Victim Six) reporting that he and his siblings had been sexually abused by Moslener when they were children. Victim Six became concerned when he saw Moslener featured in various photos on the St. Joseph’s parish website, despite his dismissal from the Church approximately a decade earlier. Victim Six referenced the “irreversible damage” Moslener caused and noted, “His name doesn’t appear on any sex offender registry.  His victims continue to struggle to this day.”

Connare and Bosco permitted Moslener to continue in ministry for 22 years after the initial complaint of child sexual abuse against him and the numerous reports of child sexual assault which followed.  During that time, Moslener continued to prey on innocent children within the Diocese of Greensburg.

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.