Father William O’Malley
Diocese of Pittsburgh
Withdrawn from active ministry: 2003
Assigned as follows:
- 6/15/1970-5/23/1973: St. Jerome (Charleroi, PA)
- 5/22/1973-9/14/1978: St. Canice (Knoxville, PA)
- 9/15/1978-3/28/1982: St. Francis de Sales (McKees Rocks, PA)
- 3/29/1982-11/15/1985: St. Paul (Butler, PA)
- 11/16/1985-8/24/1992: St. Conrad (Meridian, PA)
- 8/25/1992-8/10/1995: Tribunal, Diocese of Pittsburgh
- 8/11/1995-6/29/1997: Devine Mercy (Beaver Falls, PA)
- 6/30/1997-12/14/1997: St. Irenaeus (Oakmont, PA)
- 12/15/1997-11/15/1998: Leave of Absence for Personal Reasons
- 11/16/1998-5/18/2003: Canonical Consultant Tribunal Diocese of Pittsburgh
Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations against Father William O’Malley:
Father William O’Malley was ordained a priest in 1970, who served in the Diocese of Pittsburgh. According to media reports, in April 1991, the Diocese received a complaint that he was having young people spend too much time at the St. Conrad rectory. On this same date, two ministers advised that O’Malley had given at least one underage boy numerous gifts, including remote control cars, electronic devices, use of O’Malley’s credit card, and at least one trip to the Bahamas.
On April 24, 1992, the father of this same boy (who was in tenth grade at the time) advised that he had concerns about O’Malley and both of his sons. The father stated that his old. In May 1992, Diocesan officials questioned O’Malley about the complaint but he denied any wrongdoing.
In 1993, a financial audit was conducted at St. Conrad due to complaints of financial mismanagement by O’Malley. Through the audit, it was discovered that O’Malley had given money to a local 17-year-old boy who stayed at the rectory and was the primary user of new guest furniture that had been purchased by O’Malley. It was also discovered that O’Malley and the teenager had a joint bank account together.
Additional Allegations Against Father O’Malley Surface
In December 1993, an adult male contacted the Diocese of Pittsburgh to report that he was sexually assaulted by O’Malley. He explained that O’Malley’s residence had a pool table and hot tub and was always available as a “place for kids to go.”
When questioned by Diocesan officials regarding the complaint, O’Malley admitted to receiving a backrub from the male but advised that he did not recall if any sexual contact had occurred. O’Malley admitted that adolescents were still coming into the rectory to use the pool tables and pinball machine. Father Guay cautioned O’Malley against this activity, “especially since [the complainant] made reference to this as an opportunity for O’Malley to have access to other adolescents.”
In December 1997, Diocesan officials interviewed an adult male who advised that
he was sexually abused by O’Malley in 1978 when he was approximately 11 to 12 years of age.
He stated that O’Malley provided him with alcohol and then, after he went to bed, O’Malley got into bed with him, removed his shorts, and fondled his genitals. On another occasion, O’Malley showed him photographs of three other boys in their underwear. O’Malley then asked if he could take similar photographs of him. The male further advised that O’Malley kept a drawer filled with large candy bars, that kids were around the rectory all the time, and that O’Malley was still seen with groups of young boys.
When interviewed about the allegation made on December 12, 1997, O’Malley stated
that the incident “probably happened” and that “kids were around all the time.” O’Malley went on to state that he was “much more careful now not to touch kids,” and that he recently had taken a group of young boys to a festival held at St. John Vianney.
Bishop Wuerl granted O’Malley a leave of absence. O’Malley was then sent to St. Francis Hospital and then to St. Luke Institute in Maryland for evaluation and treatment. He was later sent to Southdown Institute for continued treatment.
On January 12, 1998, a confidential memorandum was sent to Wuerl advising that
O’Malley was given a diagnosis of ephebophilia–the primary sexual interest in mid-to-late adolescents, generally ages 15 to 19–based on his admitted sexual interest in adolescents and that O’Malley was at high risk for seeking emotional gratification with adolescents.
Father O’Malley is Moved, Not Removed, After Treatment
In spite of this diagnosis, only 4 days later, Wuerl stated that O’Malley was “anxious to return to his priestly ministry.” Wuerl continued, “I expressed to him our desire to help him in whatever way we can do to all of the things that are necessary to present him for priestly ministry.”
In November 1998, Wuerl sent a letter to O’Malley appointing him as Canonical
Consultant in the Tribunal of the Diocese, with continued residence at St. John Vianney. Among other things, Wuerl stated, “At the same time, I welcome you back to priestly ministry following your leave of absence for personal reasons. Your willingness to serve in this capacity and to be of assistance…is a sign of your dedication and priestly zeal.”
In December 1998, a letter was sent to Wuerl from the same victim who had disclosed being sexually assaulted by O’Malley a year earlier (as described above). The victim stated that it had been one year since he originally made his complaint to the Diocese about his abuse and his disclosure of three additional boys–whom he stated he knew personally from school–whom O’Malley had photographed in their underwear. The victim further stated that he believed the church was supporting O’Malley’s behavior and cited as an example O’Malley’s new position in the Diocesan building and the publishing of his appointment.
In July 1999, a recommendation was made by the Diocesan Clergy Task Force that O’Malley be moved from St. John Vianney to St. Mary of Mercy to “cut down on some of his appearances at parishes and events which have been problematic in the past.”
It was suggested that O’Malley be placed back on administrative leave, but that he could “continue to do tribunal work unofficially despite the fact that he no longer is assigned to the tribunal.”
In September 1999, a confidential memorandum was sent by Ruggiero regarding O’Malley, which referenced earlier information that O’Malley had been conducting research on child-care institutions located within the Diocese of Erie. As stated in the memorandum, it was Ruggiero’ s opinion that the Diocese should not allow O’Malley’s name to be associated with any publication that may receive public notice, “especially in an area related to child care.”
Allegations of Abuse After O’Malley Went Back into Ministry
From April 2002 to January 2006, a total of six additional victims independently came forward to report that they were sexually assaulted by O’Malley. Three of the victims advised that they were sexually abused in the 1970s. At the time of their victimization, their ages ranged from 8 to 14. The three remaining victims advised that they were sexually assaulted in the mid-1990s and as recently as 1999. These three victims ranged in age from 11 to 17.
Many of the victims indicated that during the time period in question, O’Malley would provide them with gifts and trips. It should be noted that a portion of this period of sexual abuse, (from the end of 1998 through 1999), occurred after Wuerl placed O’Malley back into ministry as Canonical Consultant.
In January 2006, Father Young advised Wuerl that another victim had disclosed that he was sexually molested by Father William O’Malley from 1996 when he was 14 years old until 1999 when he was 17 years old. The victim stated that the abuse occurred in three different counties.
In January 2006, the Diocese of Pittsburgh reported this complaint to the Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office. Diocesan records revealed that the District Attorney’s Office subsequently advised that the victim did not wish to pursue the investigation.
O’Malley died in 2008 and is buried at Saint Mary’s of the Assumption Cemetery in Glenshaw, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.
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.