March 08, 2005

Diocese faces another abuse suit


By Matthew Junker and Craig Smith
Tuesday, March 8, 2005

A Greensburg man filed suit against the Diocese of Greensburg over allegations that he was abused approximately 43 years ago, at the hands of a priest who has been dead since 1991.

Terrance J. Zawacki, 53, said in a filing made last week that he believes he was approximately 11 years of age when the Rev. Francis M. Lesniak took him ice skating, then invited him to stay overnight at a church rectory.

Zawacki's attorney is well known in the state for representing alleged victims of abuse at the hands of clergy. Lawyer Richard Serbin, of Altoona, represents Zawacki, one of more than 100 plaintiffs he's represented in this type of case. Last year, he settled 21 cases for $3.71 million against the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown.

According to Serbin, Zawacki was a parishioner at Transfiguration Church in Mt. Pleasant, where Lesniak was filling in. Serbin said Lesniak took his client to another rectory, unknown to him.

Posted by kshaw at March 8, 2005 07:05 AM