Pittsburgh Diocese is sued after abuse accuser’s suicide
PITTSBURGH — The estate of a man allegedly abused by a priest in the 1980s is suing the Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh, alleging he committed suicide this year after the diocese stopped paying for his mental health treatments after two other suicide attempts.
Michael Unglo, 39, formerly of Etna in suburban Pittsburgh, committed suicide in May at a center in Stockbridge, Mass., according to a copy of the lawsuit obtained by the Associated Press. He alleged he was molested in the early 1980s while an altar boy by a priest who was convicted of molesting another boy and later resigned.
The diocese decided to stop paying for Unglo’s treatment even though the diocese continued to cover the accused’s health insurance and a monthly stipend, Alan Perer, attorney for Unglo’s estate, said yesterday at a news conference.
“There was money to fund a convicted pedophile, defrocked priest and yet not enough money to continue to provide for the victim of that priest who ultimately killed himself,’’ Perer said.
The lawsuit alleges negligence by the diocese and Bishop David Zubik and seeks at least $50,000 in damages for factors including Unglo’s pain and suffering, his medical expenses, his future lost income, and his family’s loss of his companionship.
The diocese issued a statement yesterday denying negligence or any responsibility for Unglo’s death, noting that it “provided hundreds of thousands of dollars for counseling and residential treatment’’ that continued until his death.
The Rev. Ronald Lengwin, a diocesan spokesman, confirmed the diocese continues to pay Richard Dorsch a monthly stipend of about $1,000.
“As a matter of policy we don’t want to see anyone go homeless,’’ Lengwin said. “If we provide a stipend that doesn’t mean we’re supporting that priest in terms of the allegations, but he is a human being and we have to care for him in a minimum way.’’
Dorsch could not be located for comment.
According to the lawsuit and electronic court documents, Dorsch was convicted of two counts of indecent assault and one count of corruption of minors in 1995 for molesting another boy. News accounts at the time said Dorsch resigned from the priesthood in 1996, while yesterday’s lawsuit contends he was dismissed.