Fr. Mauro J. Cautela – Diocese of Pittsburgh

| Dec 5, 2018 | Abuser Profiles, Catholic Church

Father Mauro Cautela

Diocese of Pittsburgh

Ordained: 1974

Removed from ministry: 2005

Death: 2005

Assigned as Follows:

  • 1974-1979: Our Lady of Joy (Pittsburgh, PA)
  • 1979-1983: St. Vitus (New Castle, PA)
  • 1983-1984: St. James (Sewickley, PA)
  • 1984-1989: Mother of Good Counsel (Pittsburgh, PA)
  • 1989-1992: St. Norbert (Pittsburgh, PA)
  • 1992-2000: Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Ellwood City, PA)
  • 1998-2000: St. Agatha (Ellwood City, PA)
  • 2000-2005: Holy Redeemer (Ellwood City, PA)
  • 2005: Administrative Leave

Summary of Allegations Against Father Mauro J. Cautela:

Father Mauro Cautela was ordained a priest in 1974, who served in the Diocese of Pittsburgh. According to media reports, records subpoenaed from the Diocese of Pittsburgh reveal that  had inappropriate relations with three young boys. The abuse occurred during his time at Our Lady of Joy, St. Norbert, Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and Holy Redeemer. He is also accused of using church funds to buy homosexual pornography on church-owned computers and to further his relations with the boys.

A 2006 memorandum by Rita Flaherty, Diocesan Assistance Coordinator, covered details about a phone call she had with one of Cautela’s victims. The victim stated that the abuse occurred between 1975 and 1981 when he was approximately 14 years old. He said that Cautela molested him both on church property and on property at Bear Lake in Seven Springs, noting that alcohol was sometimes provided. The victim allegedly left Father Cautela a voice message in 2003 detailing his abuse, after which Cautela offered him $20,000 to not reveal his pedophilic nature. Cautela then deleted the voicemail and reported it to Father James Young, who forwarded the allegations to the Lawrence County District Attorney’s Office.

Flaherty received a call from another victim in 2005. This victim and his parents later met with officials from the Diocese of Pittsburgh to discuss the alleged abuse, which took place between 1998 and 2005, between the ages of 12 and 19. Cautela inappropriately touched him multiple times, often massaging him when he helped him lift weights at the gym. He would touch his muscles and make comments about his progress in addition to touching his upper legs and buttocks. Cautela also touched him like this on multiple trips to Hilton Head and insisted that he apply sunscreen to the boy, often resulting in his buttocks partially showing. In another instance, Cautela came to the boy’s house while his parents weren’t home and massaged his groin. The victim said that there were other boys that Cautela was “helping” to lift weights and that he was touching them in similarly inappropriate ways. He detailed his abuse in a 10-page letter to the Diocese of Pittsburgh. The victim also alleged that Father Cautela had bought him a necklace, a cell phone, weight sets, and a gym membership in addition to giving the victim his car and paying for the insurance.

Mauro Cautela resigned from his position as pastor in 2005 after these allegations and was placed on administrative leave by the Diocese of Pittsburgh. The family of the victim followed advice from the Diocese and sent the accusations to the Lawrence County District Attorney’s Office. Trooper Janice Wilson of the Pennsylvania State Police wrote a 24-page report covering the above abuse and some more details she uncovered. The new details included Cautela giving gifts to the victim only when others weren’t present, Cautela looking up porn on the rectory computer and having the victim delete his browsing history, and a 2005 unauthorized dumping report received by the New Castle Police Department that complained of trash containing DVDs and VHS tapes of homosexual pornography and nude wrestling, as well as a framed photograph of Cautela’s victim with two of his siblings.

Wilson also talked to the first victim, who said that Father Mauro Cautela had performed oral sex on him while at Bear Lake near Seven Springs. She also spoke with the housekeeper at St. Agatha, who stated that Cautela would often have young boys up to his room to use his computer even though it was against the rules. Wilson noted that there could be 3 charges: corruption of minors, indecent assault, and endangering the welfare of children.

Later in 2005, Cautela requested the postponement of his evaluation at St. Luke Institute, a notorious treatment facility for pedophile priests located in Suitland, Maryland, and his Diocesan Board Review. The request was granted. Shortly thereafter, the FBI agreed to press charges against Father Cautela concerning abuse that had occurred outside Pennsylvania. The criminal investigation ended with Cautela’s death.

A civil lawsuit was filed by the second victim in 2006. The victim signed a “Full and Final Release” document and the Diocese of Pittsburgh agreed to pay him $250,000.

In July 2020, Horowitz Law sued the Diocese of Pittsburgh on behalf of a man who was sexually abused by Cautela in the early 1980s at St. Vitus. That suit remains pending.

Father Mauro J. Cautela died in 2005. He was 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 now have legal options to recover damages due to a compensation fund created for victims.  Contact us at (954) 641-2100 or [email protected] today.