Father Mark Gruber
Diocese of Greensburg (Benedictine)
Assigned as Follows:
- Saint Vincent College (Latrobe, PA)
Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations against Fr. Mark Gruber:
Fr. Mark Gruber was ordained a Benedictine priest in 1987, who served in multiple parishes in the Diocese of Greensburg. According to media reports, the allegations against him concerned the Vatican to the degree of ordering the former Benedictine monk to leave St. Vincent Archabbey in Latrobe and relieved him of his monastic vows for spreading rumors about Archabbot Douglas Nowicki, the leader of the Benedictine community in Unity. He then disobeyed orders to report to a treatment facility in Missouri, which resulted in his involuntary laicization. According to the Archabbey, Gruber was said to have intimidated a junior monk into falsely alleging sexual misconduct against Nowicki in retaliation for the Order’s response to what it thought was child pornography downloaded onto Gruber’s computer. According to various news sources, the case unfolded as follows:
In 2009, Gruber, a tenured professor of Sociology and Anthropology at St. Vincent College, was suspended from teaching following a state police investigation into allegations that he possessed child pornography. Gruber was not charged with any crime; however, pornographic images, including inappropriate depictions of himself as well as photographs of young-looking men, was discovered on Gruber’s computer. He had also visited Russian and Eastern European websites that were known to distribute child pornography, but there was no evidence that he downloaded any. Police ultimately determined that the men in the photos were likely over the age of 18, so no crime had been committed, at least as far as they could determine from the partially-wiped hard drive.
However, given the nature of the photographs, Church leaders determined that he had violated Canon Law and sought guidance from the Vatican. He was ordered to cease ministry and report to a monastery. The Diocese of Greensburg revoked Gruber’s faculties to perform ministry functions.
In response to the actions taken against him by the Diocese of Greensburg and the Benedictines, Gruber initiated a libel suit against the Bishop of Greensburg, the Archabbot and college officials. He quickly withdrew this lawsuit. The Archabbey released a statement claiming, “the evidence against Rev. Gruber was judged to be irrefutable.” In fact, during its internal proceedings, the Vatican said that Gruber was guilty of possessing child pornography.
According to Diocese records, “The Congregation [Vatican] found him guilty of the more grave delict of possession of child pornography, the crime of the production of materials which gravely injure good morals, the abuse of the Sacrament of Confession with the aggravating factor of the manipulation of conscience, and the defamation of a legitimate superior.” In retaliation for his removal from the college, Gruber allegedly conducted a smear campaign against Archabbot Nowicki by coercing a junior Monk to allege sexual misconduct against Nowicki – Gruber’s religious superior – in a signed affidavit. The junior monk later recanted and said he was pressured by Gruber to sign it.
In 2012, an anonymous student came forward claiming he was the one who downloaded the pornography onto Gruber’s computer, not Gruber. He had allegedly claimed ownership of the act through confession with Gruber, a confession Gruber did not reveal in his own defense. The student claimed Gruber was a good Father who kept sacred the act of confession even in the face of losing his job and ruining his reputation. Father Gruber maintains that the young man’s sworn statement should have led to the reinstatement of his position last year.
On July 29, 2013, after refusing to abide by the first directive that he report to a treatment facility and cease all ministry, Gruber was involuntarily laicized. The Archabbey provided financial assistance and healthcare benefits for a designated period to assist Gruber’s transition from the cloth.
There are no public allegations that Gruber engaged in sexual misconduct with minor children in the Diocese of Greensburg.
According to his Facebook page, Gruber is currently residing in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Many of his “friends” continue to refer to him as “Father Mark” even though he is no longer a priest.
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.