Local man says he was abused as a teen by Pennsylvania priest

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A grand jury report released Tuesday details accusations of abuse against made by more than 1,000 victims against more than 300 priests in Pennsylvania over the course of seven decades. A local man says one of the priests named in the report abused him when he was a teenager. 

Because of the statute of limitations, all but two cases are too old to be prosecuted. 

Dorsch of Simpsonville told 7 News the damage lasted long after the abuse ended, but therapy and faith have helped him live a normal life. He said the grand jury report is a start, but there’s still a lot of work to be done. 

“It was horrific,” Dorsch said. “It was confusing. It was scary. Why is he doing this to me? Does it happen to others?”

He grew up near Pittsburgh, one of ten kids in a Catholic family. He said Father Jack Hoehl, who was the headmaster at his high school, took a special interest in him when he was about ten years old. 

“Father Jack Hoehl at the time would start befriending me and, [saying] ‘you’re my favorite little Dorsch,’ type of stuff,” he said. “He told my parents he would take me over for a sno cone or whatever it was.”

He said freshman year is when the abuse began. 

“Over time he would advance those tickle, play games to things that were just…abuse,” Dorsch said.

He said it lasted through high school and in to his freshman year of college. He went to the press with his story in 1997 when he was 34. 

“It just hit me, as like my gosh, he can still get to kids… he can still get to my nephews,” Dorsch said. 

That’s when he reached out to other boys he suspected Hoehl had abused. The grand jury report details allegations from multiple people saying Hoehl abused them as kids. The claims range from providing alcohol, to groping, to oral sex. 

“By no coincidence, we…all either had an alcohol issue, a drug issue, both or divorce… some type of addiction to try to fill that void of having that pain not being dealt with,” Dorsch said.

The report quotes an email where a graduate from the high school said his friend committed suicide because of what Hoehl did to him. 

Hoehle is one of more than 300 priests named in a Pennsylvania grand jury report released Tuesday, but he was never charged with a crime. He continued to work in the church and around kids. 

“He’s 80 years old…still alive,” Dorsch said.

Hoehl did not respond to 7 News’ request for a comment. 

According to the grand jury report, Hoehl was removed from priesthood in 1988 after being reassigned one time after allegations came to light. 

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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