Pittsburgh Bishop Receives Little one Sexual Abuse Grievance Towards Former Priest – Episcopal Information Service

[Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh] Bishop Dorsey McConnell sent the following letter on March 12th to the people of the Diocese of Pittsburgh and Sheldon Calvary Camp, an affiliate of the Diocese.

In the letter, McConnell announced that his office had received a child sexual abuse complaint against the late Charles Appel, who served as a priest in the Diocese of Pittsburgh before relinquishing his command in 2001.

The bishop asked anyone who had information about this claim or would like to discuss related situations to come in for a confidential interview. McConnell hopes to have an update on this matter in the summer and asks everyone to join him in praying for those affected by this situation.

The full letter follows.

March 12, 2021

Dear friends in Christ,

I am writing to give you some difficult news.

My office received a child sexual abuse complaint against Charles Appel, who was a former priest in the Diocese of Pittsburgh. The man who made the complaint reports that the alleged abuse occurred in the late 1970s and early 1980s as a minor and at Sheldon Calvary Camp, the Conneaut, Ohio camp affiliated with our diocese.

Mr. Appel gave up his priesthood in the Episcopal Church in 2001 after being charged with clergymen. He previously served at Calvary Camp from approximately 1971 to 1982 and was also pastor of the former Church of the Good Samaritan in Liberty Borough. In 2014, Mr Appel was sentenced to five years in prison for receiving pornographic videos from children. He passed away in 2019.

It is painful to recognize this part of the history of our diocese. As Christians, however, we must work for the safety and well-being of all and for transparency about any wrongdoing or abuse. To this end, I would like to invite and encourage anyone in our congregations or in the community who has information about this claim or would like to speak to Mr. Appel about related situations to contact our diocesan admissions officer, Reverend Catherine Munz or the Reverend Canon James Shoucair, by e-mail toaufnahme@episcopalpgh.org or by phone at 412-721-0853 ext. 257. All related conversations are treated as strictly confidential.

Please note that today in the Diocese of Pittsburgh and Sheldon Calvary Camp we are absolutely committed to the safety of everyone, especially our children. All staff and volunteers who work with children are required to undergo training in Protecting the Children of God every three years. Our diocese has comprehensive and updated guidelines for protecting children and young people from abuse that apply in all of our parishes and programs, including mandatory background checks. If child molestation allegations were reported to a member of the clergy, Church or camp staff today, we would go to civil authorities immediately.

The Church is called to love, teach, and heal. Even the thought that someone might do just the opposite is a cause for grief. As your bishop, I hope to gain a better understanding of this matter in the months ahead, and I plan to write to you again this summer to notify you of an update. Until then, I pray for all those affected by this situation, for the Appel family and especially for the believers at Sheldon Calvary Camp, past and present.

Loyal to,
The right Reverend Dorsey WM McConnell, DD
VIII Bishop of Pittsburgh

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