Catholic Priest

William P. O'Malley, III

Ordained: 1970
Diocese: Diocese of Pittsburgh

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

On April 21, 1991, the Diocese of Pittsburgh received a complaint that Father William P. O’Malley was having young people spend too much time at the St. Conrad rectory. No names were provided. On this same date, two ministers advised Father Guay, Vicar for the Clergy, that O’Malley had given at least one underage boy numerous gifts, including remote control cars, electronic devices, use of O’Malley’s credit card, and at least one trip to the Bahamas. On April 24, 1992, the father of this same boy (who was in tenth grade at the time) advised that he had concerns about O’Malley and both of his sons. The father stated that his oldest son had keys to the rectory and spent nights and weekends there with O’Malley. On May 1, 1992, Diocesan officials questioned O’Malley about the complaint but he denied any wrongdoing.

On March 24, 1993, a financial audit was conducted at St. Conrad due to complaints of financial mismanagement by O’Malley.  Through the audit, it was discovered, inter alia, that O’Malley had given money to a local 17-year-old boy who stayed at the rectory and was the primary user of new guest furniture that had been purchased by O’Malley.   It was also discovered that O’Malley and the teenager had a joint bank account together.

On December 23, 1993, an adult male contacted the Diocese to report that he was sexually assaulted by O’Malley when he was approximately 22 years of age. He explained that O’Malley’s residence had a pool table and hot tub and was always available as a “place for kids to go.”  When questioned by Diocesan officials regarding the complaint, O’Malley admitted to receiving a backrub from the male but advised that he did not recall if any sexual contact had occurred. O’Malley admitted that adolescents were still coming into the rectory to use the pool tables and pinball machine. Father Guay cautioned O’Malley against this activity, “[e]specially since [the complainant] made reference to this as an opportunity for O’Malley to have access to other adolescents.”

On December 12, 1997, Diocesan officials interviewed an adult male who advised that he was sexually abused by O’Malley in 1978 when he was approximately 11 to 12 years of age. He stated that O’Malley provided him with alcohol and then, after he went to bed, O’Malley got into bed with him, removed his shorts, and fondled his genitals. On another occasion, O’Malley showed him photographs of three other boys in their underwear.  O’Malley then asked if he could take similar photographs of him.  The male futher advised that O’Malley kept a drawer filled with large candy bars, that kids were around the rectory all the time, and that O’Malley was still seen with groups of young boys.

When interviewed about the allegation made on December 12, 1997, O’Malley stated that the incident “probably happened” and that “kids were around all the time.” O’Malley went on to state that he was “much more careful now not to touch kids,” and that he recently had taken a group of young boys to a festival held at St. John Vianney.

Bishop Wuerl granted O’Malley a leave of absence. O’Malley was then sent to St. Francis Hospital and then to St. Luke Institute in Maryland for evaluation and treatment.  He was later sent to Southdown Institute for continued treatment.

On January 12, 1998, a confidential memorandum was sent to Wuerl advising that O’Malley was given a diagnosis of “ephebophilia,” based on his admitted sexual interest in adolescents and that O’Malley was at a high risk for seeking emotional gratification with adolescents.  In spite of this diagnosis, only four days later, Wuerl sent a memorandum to the file documenting his meeting with O’Malley on January 15, 1998.  Wuerl stated that O’Malley was “anxious to return to his priestly ministry.” Wuerl continued, “I expressed to him our desire to help him in whatever way we can do to all of the things that are necessary to present him for priestly ministry.

On February 12, 1998, a letter was sent from a psychiatrist to Wuerl regarding O’Malley. Th psychiatrist noted that O’Malley “describes no sexual interest or experiences with any youngster who was not a teenager” and that “the incidents that occurred number 5 or less, were never repeated with the same individual, and never included anything more than touching with his hands.”   The doctor further stated that no sexual activity with minors had reoccurred since 1982 and that O’Malley should be allowed to return to his ministry.

On February 20, 1998, a confidential letter was sent from Southdown to Father Ruggiero, advising that during treatment, O’Malley stated that he had a fantasy for “well built 16, 17 or 18 year olds,” along with a continued over-involvement with youth, and an inappropriate preoccupation with things that attract youth. From April 1998 through October 1998, O’Malley remained in residential treatment at Southdown.  While there, O’Malley received a letter from the Diocese including a $1,000 payment to O’Malley for his car insurance.

On November 9, 1998, Wuerl sent a letter to O’Malley appointing him as Canonical Consultant in the Tribunal of the Diocese, with continued residence at St. John Vianney. Among other things, Wuerl stated:

“At the same time I welcome you back to priestly ministry following your leave of absence for personal reasons.  Your willingness to serve in this capacity and to be of assistance . . . is a sign of your dedication and priestly zeal.

On December 12, 1998, a letter was sent to Wuerl from the same victim who had disclosed being sexually assaulted by O’Malley a year earlier (as described above).  The victim stated that it had been one year since he originally made his complaint to the Diocese about his abuse and his disclosure of three additional boys – – whom he stated he knew personally from school — whom O’Malley had photographed in their underwear.  The victim further stated that he believed the church was supporting O’Malley’s behavior and cited as an example O’Malley’s new position in the Diocesan building and the publishing of his appointment.

On May 17, 1999, a letter was sent from Ruggiero to O’Malley stating, among other things, that the Diocese had become aware that O’Malley had violated protocol by appearing in clerical attire and celebrating mass in public ceremonies.   Ruggiero advised that any future violation(s) could affect O’Malley’s position as Canonical Consultant.

On July 9, 1999, a recommendation was made by the Diocesan Clergy Task Force that O’Malley be moved from St. John Vianney to St. Mary of Mercy to “cut down on some of his appearances at parishes and events which have been problematic in the past.” It was suggested that O’Malley be placed back on administrative leave, but that he could “continue to do tribunal work unofficially despite the fact that he no longer is assigned to the tribunal.”   This memorandum was initialed at the bottom as being approved by the Bishop.

On August 16, 1999, a confidential memorandum was sent from Ruggiero to Wuerl documenting the finalization of a loan made by the Diocese to O’Malley.  The loan was in the amount of $37,800 and was to assist O’Malley with his current debts.  The loan was approved by Wuerl. Weeks later, on September 24, 1999, another confidential memorandum was sent by Ruggiero regarding O’Malley. The memorandum referenced earlier information that O’Malley had been conducting research on child-care institutions located within the Diocese of Erie.  As stated in the memorandum, it was Ruggiero’s opinion that the Diocese should not allow O’Malley’s name to be associated with any publication that may receive public notice, “especially in an area related to child care.”

From April 5, 2002 to January 13, 2006, a total of six additional victims independently came forward to report that they were sexually assaulted by O’Malley.  Three of the victims advised that they were sexually abused in the 1970’s.  At the time of their victimization, their ages ranged from 8 to 14.  The three remaining victims advised that they were sexually assaulted in the mid-1990’s and as recently as 1999.  These three victims ranged in age from 11 to 17. Many of the victims indicated that during the time period in question, O’Malley would provide them with gifts and trips.  It should be noted that a portion of this period of sexual abuse, (from the end of 1998 through 1999), occurred after Wuerl placed O’Malley back into ministry as Canonical Consultant.

On May 19, 2003, a letter was sent to O’Malley from Wuerl wherein Wuerl advised that he accepted O’Malley’s resignation from active ministry.  However, Wuerl also advised O’Malley that his “sustenance needs and benefits would continue according to the norms of law.

On January 13, 2006, a memorandum was sent from Father Young to Wuerl advising that another victim had disclosed that he was “sexually molested by Father William O’Malley from 1996 when he was 14 years old until 1999, when he was 17 years old.”  The victim stated that the abuse occurred in three different counties.  In January, 2006, the Diocese reported this complaint to the Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office. Diocesan records revealed that the District Attorney’s Office subsequently advised that the victim did not wish to pursue the investigation.

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.