Father Raymond Lukac
Diocese of Greensburg
In-Patient Treatment: 1957 – 1961
On Duty Outside Diocese: 1961-unknown
Assigned as follows:
- 1954-1955: Saints Cyril & Methodius (Fairchance, PA)
- 1955-1957: Holy Trinity (Ford City, PA)
- 1957-1961: Inpatient Treatment (Servants of the Paraclete)
- 1961-1963: Diocese of Gary, Indiana
- 1963-1964: Archdiocese of Chicago
- 1964: Diocese of Wheeling
- 1964-Unknown: Veterans Administration Service
Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations against Fr. Raymond Lukac:
Fr. Raymond Lukac was ordained a priest in 1954, 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.
“For the best of all concerned, I beg your Excellency, please replace him.” – Father Matthew Yanosek (Pastor, Holy Trinity, 1955)
LUKAC IS TRANSFERRED FROM HIS VERY FIRST ASSIGNMENT BECAUSE OF WELL-KNOWN SEXUAL MISCONDUCT
Not long after his ordination – which itself was mired in controversy – hand-written letters dispatched from various families at Holy Family to the head Chancellor of the Diocese of Greensburg on the subject of Fr. Raymond Lukac’s romance with the parish’s eighteen-year-old organist. The Diocese of Greensburg responded by transferring Lukac to Holy Trinity and making him signed a petition vowing never to contact or see the victim again.
LUKAC ABUSES, THEN MARRIES, A TEENAGE GIRL AT HIS SECOND PARISH
Not long after he arrived at Holy Trinity, the pastor, Father Matthew Yanosek, discovered a seventeen-year-old student in Lukac’s bed. Upon seeing the girl, Yanosek phoned the victim’s father and informed him of the act. He also wrote letters to Bishop Lamb that he replace Lukac for disobedience to the regulations of the cloth. According to the letters, Yanosek found a wedding ring and marriage certificate in Lukac’s room with the Holy Trinity Church seal, the date of November 20th, 1956 and Yanosek’s forged signature. The date on the document was the victim’s eighteenth birthday.
Bishop Lamb requested the assistance of John O’Hara, the Archbishop of Philadelphia, in 1957 regarding the “danger of scandal” the church faced from Fr. Raymond Lukac and his sexual relationship with a minor and subsequent marriage. Lamb claimed there was no solid proof as to how far Lukac had crossed the line, yet when the Grand Jury searched Yanosek’s Diocesan file, they found countless letters from parishioners complaining of Lukac’s inappropriate conduct with teenagers.
According to the Grand Jury report, Lamb planned to send Lukac to Padua Retreat House in 1957, but on the date in question, Lukac eloped with the victim to Virginia to legitimize their marriage, in case there was any question whether the forged marriage certificate was valid.
LUKAC DIVORCES HIS PREGNANT WIFE AND SEEKS ASSIGNMENT FROM A BENEVOLENT BISHOP OUTSIDE OF GREENSBURG
Eventually, Lukac later entered Foundation House, a treatment facility for priests accused of sexual abuse, in late 1957 and stayed there until 1961. In his first year of in-patient treatment, Lukac learned of his wife carrying his child and promptly divorced her.
Upon his discharge from Foundation House, Lukac did not return to the Diocese of Greensburg. Instead, he served the Diocese of Gary (Indiana) on a “trial basis,” thanks to a “benevolent bishop” that took him in when the Diocese of Greensburg “suggested” he seek assignment elsewhere. Among other assignments, Lukac was assigned to Bishop Noll Institute, a high school in Hammond, Indiana. Lukac retained almost all of his priestly faculties sans taking confessions. In 1963, the Bishop Gary wrote to the Bishop of Greensburg that Lukac was no longer welcome in the Diocese of Gary. He also said Lukac, “is also troubled with impetuosity with a tendency toward indiscreetness. In my humble opinion an assignment in a boys’ school would be in teh best interest of Father Lukac,” using known code words (e.g., “impetuosity,” “indiscreetness”) for sexual misconduct to suggest that Lukac not be assigned anywhere there might be females.
According to Diocesan records, Bishop Connare made it his duty to find Lukac another “Benevolent Bishop” to accept the Father into his diocese. In the meantime, Connare pleaded that the Diocese of Greensburg keeps the sensitive nature of Lukac’s past a secret as to protect his reputation. The avoidance of public scandal was always the first priority.
AFTER BEING KICKED OUT OF THE DIOCESE OF GARY FOR SEXUAL MISCONDUCT, LUKAC CONTINUES HIS TOUR OF TERROR IN CHICAGO AND WHEELING, WEST VIRGINIA
In 1963, Lukac found a friend at the Archdiocese of Chicago, Father Stanley Dopek, to take him in. Formally, the Archdiocese of Chicago rejected Lukac’s request for assignment but Dopek helped him find a place in Chicago. In 1963, Dopek wrote to Connare that Lukac would hold a service position at the St. Stanislaus grammar school. That same year, Lukac wrote to Connare begging him to petition Rome for reinstatement of his faculties to hear confessions. Connare quickly granted the request, though it was limited to one year and conditioned upon a benevolent bishop accepting him.
In 1964, Bishop Joseph Hodges, the Bishop of Wheeling, West Virginia, became the answer to Lukac’s prayers as he welcomed him into the Diocese of Wheeling with open arms. Similar to the Diocese of Gary, in Lukac’s first year at the Diocese, Bishop Hodges requested Lukac be transferred due to his choice of strong language in front of the students. There is no record of what that language may have been, but according to the Grand Jury, it unsettled Hodges. In 1965 Lukac took on a part-time position as Chaplain over at the Veterans Administration Service and requested to become a full-time chaplain in 1967.
THE DIOCESE OF GREENSBURG CONTINUES TO RECEIVE COMPLAINTS ABOUT LUKAC’S MISCONDUCT
In 1993, a young girl contacted the Diocese of Greensburg claiming to be Lukac’s daughter, but when the Diocese reached out to the Archdiocese of Military Services to find him, they had no record of Lukac ever working within their branch.
In 2006 the Archdiocese of Chicago requested Lukac’s complete record from Greensburg to investigate a claim made against Lukac for the alleged sexual abuse of an eleven-year-old girl in the St. Stanislaus rectory while he was working there.
When the Diocese of Gary, Indiana searched for information on an alleged case of abuse within the Diocese of Greensburg the only note found in the Diocese of Gary’s file read: “Woman approx.1961 -1964 teenage sex relation,” which at least confirmed why the Bishop suggested Fr. Raymond Lukac work in a boys’ high school in his next diocese.
The Grand Jury concluded the Diocese of Greensburg was obviously aware of Lukac’s potential damage, failed to address the complaints against him appropriately, and ultimately enabled his sexual misconduct.
LUKAC DIES AS A PRIEST WITH A WIFE AND TWO CHILDREN
Lukac died in 2000. His obituary, which refers to him as “Reverend,” refers to his survivors as a wife and two children. His headstone also refers to him as “Reverend,” which suggests he was never laicized by the Vatican.
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.