Father Ferdinand Demsher
Diocese of Pittsburgh
Assigned as Follows:
- 1946-1947: St. Peter (New Kensington, PA)
- 1947-1949: Christ the King (Ambridge, PA)
- 1949-1951: St. James (West End, PA)
- 1951-1963: United States Army
- 1963-1966: Resurrection (Brookline, PA)
- 1966-1983: St. Mary of the Assumption (Pittsburgh, PA)
Summary of Allegations Against Father Ferdinand Demsher:
Father Ferdinand Demsher was ordained a priest in 1946, who served in the Diocese of Pittsburgh. According to media reports, in 2002, a man emailed the Diocese of Pittsburgh alleging that the priest repeatedly sexually abused him as a child, starting when he was 13 years old from 1975 to 1976 . The victim did “odd jobs” for Father Demsher at St. Mary of the Assumption, where the abuse occurred. The Diocese of Pittsburgh deemed the accusations credible and fulfilled the victim’s request for help with counseling.
In 2012, a woman called the Diocesan Assistance Coordinator to report that she had a male friend who was molested by Demsher in the late 1970s to early 1980s. The Coordinator gave her information that she could forward to her friend and the woman gave the potential victim’s first name. The man does not seem to have contacted the Diocese of Pittsburgh and no additional action was taken on the complaint.
A 2015 memorandum outlined the allegations of still another victim. This victim described being a 14-year-old boy when Demsher would sexually abuse him. When he was a freshman at Central Catholic High School in Pittsburgh, Demsher fondled his genitals when he came to pick up his report card. This occurred twice.
The Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office was notified of another sexual abuse accusation against Demsher in 2015. The District Attorney’s records show that abuse occurred between 1964 and 1965 at a church in the county.
Another memorandum from February 2016 contained the allegations of another man. This victim was 10 or 11 years old when he was sexually abused by Demsher. He was an altar boy and attended Resurrection grade school at the time.
Another victim was disclosed in a May 2016 memorandum. The abuse happened in the mid- to late-1960s, but the victim did not give details about the nature of the abuse. He did mention that Demsher provided alcohol to a group of boys that he took to Wildwood, New Jersey, two times. The Diocese of Pittsburgh gave the Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office information about this man’s abuse and gave him financial assistance.
Demsher died in 1983. At the time of his death, he was a priest in active ministry. He was first named publicly as accused in a priest profile in the 2018 Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report.
Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of Pittsburgh. If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in Pennsylvania, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those abused by Catholic clergy in the Diocese of Pittsburgh may have legal options, but filing deadlines will apply so do not delay in reaching out to us.