Father Joseph Sredzinski
Diocese of Greensburg
Retired (in good standing): 2015
Assigned as follows:
- 1970 – 1972: St. Margaret Mary (Lower Burrell, PA)
- 1972 – 1974: Holy Rosary (Republic, PA)
- 1974 – 1979: St. Mary Czestochowa (New Kensington, PA)
- 1979 – 1984: St. Peter (Brownsville, PA)
- 1984 – 1989: St. Stanislaus (Calumet, PA)
- 1989 – 1989: Theological Studies (North American College (Rome, Italy,)
- 1989 – 1999: St. Joseph (Everson, PA)
- 1999 – 2007: St. Hubert (Point Marion, PA)
- 2007 – 2009: St. Emma’s Monastery (Greensburg, PA)
- 2007 – 2009: SCI Greensburg (Greensburg, PA)
- 2007 – 2009: Chaplain, Westmoreland Manor Nursing Home (Greensburg, PA)
- 2010 – 2014: Sacred Heart Church (Jeannette, PA)
Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations against Fr. Joseph Sredzinski:
“An atmosphere of fear and suspicion.”
Fr. Joseph Sredzinski was ordained a priest in 1970, who served in multiple parishes in the Diocese of Greensburg. According to media reports, in 2018, he was first named publicly as accused in the PA Grand Jury report. It revealed in 1991, Father Roger Statnick, the Vicar General of the Diocese, and Tim Shoemaker, the then-mayor of Everson, Pennsylvania, met to discuss Father Joseph Sredzinski’s reputation within their community. The mayor conveyed information he had from the community about Sredzinski’s inappropriate relationship with the local boys. In 1991, an event occurred in which a local police officer happened upon Sredzinski’s red car parked in the middle of a cemetery at night with a young boy inside. Upon seeing the officer, and without being asked, Sredzinski immediately got out of the car exclaiming nothing was wrong, and he was merely listening to problems the boy was having.
THE COMMUNITY RAISES CONCERNS ABOUT THE AMOUNT OF TIME SREDZINSKI SPENDS WITH THE LOCAL BOYS.
According to the mayor, numerous members of the community commented on Sredzinski’s spending too much time with the local boys in inappropriate circumstances, such as nights at the church rectory and in the woods around a campfire. A key witness informed the Diocese of Greensburg that they had seen Sredzinski alone in an alley with a young boy around 2:00 am. The boy in question was the same boy as the cemetery, and the allegation occurred at a similar time and place as the first. This particular boy was one of the three Sredzinski allegedly saw “far too often.” The Mayor was profoundly concerned as there had been another boy who was once a very active altar boy but then suddenly withdrew from the parish without reason.
The investigation would reveal that one boy in particular seemed to be the object of Sredzinski’s obsessions. Information continued to come into the Diocese of Greensburg well into the 2000s, yet Sredzinski remained in ministry and retired in good standing 25 years after the original allegations were made.
SREDZINSKI MISIDENTIFIES THE BOY HE IS SPENDING TIME WITH – AND ABUSING- TO THROW OFFICIALS OFF HIS TRAIL.
After his conversation with the Mayor in 1991, Statnick confronted Sredzinski with his new information and documented the conversation. Sredzinski identified the boy, claiming he was a high school junior at the time whom he had just picked up for a Dairy Queen treat so they could have time alone to talk about troubles the boy had – however, the grand jury would later find out that Sredzinski lied when he identified the boy, perhaps so no one would find out who the victim really was. The boy he identified later testified he was not abused by Sredzinski. Instead, he was often the boy that Sredzinski would “confide” in about his abuse of the actual victim, and who eventually told the Diocese of Greensburg all about the abuse of the actual victim.
Sredzinski denied spending too much time with the boys of the community and said that various children spent time at the rectory because they felt comfortable with him, not because he invited them. Sredzinski was directed to have no further contact with young people outside of business hours and only in the public areas of the rectory. When Sredzinski asked for time to change his behavior, the Vicar General underscored that it was an immediate directive. Nothing was written about how that directive would be supervised and enforced, however.
THE BOY SREDZINSKI IDENTIFIED HAD ALREADY MADE MULTIPLE COMPLAINTS ABOUT THE REAL VICTIM SPENDING TIME WITH SREDZINSKI – AND THE COMPLAINTS CONTINUED AFTER THE MAY 1991 MEETING WITH THE VG
The same day that the VG met with Joseph Sredzinski, notes indicate that the boy that Sredzinski lied about being with had already repeatedly contacted the Diocese with concern over the Father’s relationship with the actual victim, according to the grand jury report. The witness claimed to the Diocese of Greensburg that on 1991 Sredzinski took the victim as mentioned earlier swimming at the Bridgeport dam. He also took the boy to Cleveland and to Washington D.C. after the meeting with the Vicar General.
A handwritten note appeared in Sredzinski’s file dated July 23rd, 1991 – well after the Cleveland and D.C. trips – documenting an interview with Sister McCarthy. She confirmed that she worked for Sredzinski with kindergarten through eighth grade students at St. Joseph. She noted Sredzinski was very active with the school and he even took four boys on a vocational trip, all named in the file. None were the victim already known to the Diocese of Greensburg – these were four new potential victims.
When confronted by the VG about why he went on multiple trips and spent time with young people despite the directive not to, Sredzinski claimed he went of those trips despite Statnick’s direct instructions because they were pre-planned. There is no indication anyone other than Sredzinski and the VG knew about the prohibition.
A 1992 letter from Sredzinski to the victim referred to an upcoming trip to Amish Country with the boy. Another letter referred to putting the boy on the altar boy serving scheduled as soon as he gave his availability to Sredzinski.
THE INTERESTS OF THE DIOCESE OF GREENSBURG WERE ALL THAT MATTERED TO THE DIOCESE OF GREENSBURG
In 1994 Bishop Anthony Bosco the Diocese of Greensburg wrote a letter to Sister Jolenta Sred, Sredzinski’s sister, in response to her letter stating her brother felt aggrieved by the Diocese’s treatment of him. In the letter, Bosco affirmatively stated that in dealing with Sredzinski his primary focus was to protect the Church’s reputation. Everything else, including the interests of Sredzinski’s potential victims came second. Bosco stated, “At no time did we investigate with any of the families precisely because we did not want to agitate the waters anymore.”
In 1994, the victim’s father wrote to the Vicar General beacuse Sredzinski was pursuing a $513.00 bill for unpaid tuition in civil court. He believed it was a petty attempt to get back at the father for forbidding Sredzinski to have contact with his son. The Vicar General wrote back to the father, blatantly lying to the man by telling him all of the other allegations had been investigated so Sredzinski had put everything behind him. He asked for additional information about what the son claimed Sredzinski did to him, but the father refused to provide the information. The Diocese took no further action against Sredzinski.
Sredzinski remained in ministry despite the fact that information about his sexual misconduct continued to filter into the Diocese of Greensburg into the 2000s about Sredzinski’s abuse of the known victim, including corroboration from his classmates.
In June 2020, Sredzinski was named in a civil lawsuit filed against the Diocese of Greensburg and the Diocese of Pittsburgh in Washington D.C.
Father Joseph Sredzinski retired from all pastoral and chaplain responsibilities on July 1st, 2015, as a priest in good standing. He died later that same year.
Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of Greensburg. 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 Greensburg may have legal options, but filing deadlines will apply so do not delay in reaching out to us.