Father Theodore Zabowski
Diocese of Pittsburgh
Withdrawn from Ministry: 2002
Assigned as follows:
- 1970-1975: St. Lawrence O’Toole Church (Garfield, PA)
- 1975-1980: Most Holy Name Church (North Side, PA)
- 1980-1981: Holy Family Church (Lawrenceville, PA)
- 1981-1982: St. Catherine of Sweden Church (Wildwood, PA)
- 1982-1985: St. Mary’s Church (Glenshaw, PA)
- 1985-1992: St. Adalbert’s Church (South Side, PA)
- 1992-1996: St. Richard’s Church (Richland Township, PA)
- 1996: Leave of Absence
- 1996-2000: Immaculate Conception Church (Washington, PA)
- 2000-2002: Leave of Absence
Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations against Father Theodore Zabowski:
According to media reports, an internal Diocese of Pittsburgh document stated that in October 1995, an allegation of sexual abuse was made against Father Theodore Zabowski. An adult male stated that between 1975 and 1979 he engaged in wrestling with the priest, when the priest asked him to remove his clothes and then fondled him.
The male said that he and Zabowski took a trip to Canada where they slept in the same bed and Zabowski served him alcohol. Amidst the allegations, Zabowski was placed on administrative leave.
In a November 1995, a confidential memorandum, the Diocese noted that Zabowski had
acknowledged the possibility of inappropriate touching and acknowledged sharing his bed with boys for “companionship.” Additionally, in an evaluation from St. Luke Institute dated November 28, 1995, it was noted that the priest admitted to “affectionate hugging” of teenage boys.
In September 1996, despite Zabowski admitting the allegations against him “could potentially be true,” he was assigned to the Immaculate Conception parish and the Diocese noted that he should not be involved in any relationship with teenage males.
In July 2000, Zabowski took another leave of absence for unknown reasons and ultimately withdrew from the ministry in July 2002.
According to a list maintained by Bishop Accountability.org, Father Zabowski was accused of sexually abusing a 13-year-old boy in approximately 1974. At the time of the sexual abuse, Father Zabowski was assigned to St. Lawrence O’Toole Church in Garfield, Pennsylvania. The alleged abuse by occurred in the rectory affiliated with St. Lawrence O’Toole Church and in various locations in the neighborhood near the church.
On approximately ten occasions, Father Zabowski reportedly fondled the boy’s buttocks and/or genitals over the boy’s clothing while the priest was “play wrestling” with the boy. On one occasion in the rectory, Father Zabowski gave the boy alcohol to drink and then reached into the boy’s clothing, fondling the boy’s penis and testicles skin-on-skin.
He was first named publicly as accused in a priest profile in the 2018 Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report. The claim settled in 2020.
According to public records, Zabowski is still alive and currently resides in West Palm Beach, Florida.
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.