North Catholic alums claim three more brothers were sexually abusive

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Three more religious brothers who formerly worked at North Catholic High School have been accused of sexual abuse in addition to the five who were identified earlier.

The allegations come from 19 people who have contacted the Diocese of Pittsburgh in response to letters sent in recent months from the diocese to North Catholic alumni, the Rev. Ronald Lengwin, vicar general for the diocese, said today.

Father Lengwin said there were 23 allegations made against a total of eight Marianist brothers. Four of the victims said they were abused by more than one brother, he said.

Father Lengwin said diocesan officials were saddened but not completely surprised by the additional allegations.

The three additional brothers who've had allegations lodged against them are: Jerome Binder, who worked at North Catholic from from 1961-66, 1975-76 and 1979-89; James Kline, who worked there from 1940-47; and Julius May, who was there from 1960-69. All three men are now deceased.

Among the brothers identified last week was Bernard Hartman, 74 who is awaiting trial in Australia on charges he molested four children there. Brother Hartman worked at North Catholic in 1961 and 1979 and from 1986 to 1997.

That case prompted diocese officials in Pittsburgh to send two rounds of letters to North Catholic alumni urging anyone who was molested by Brother Hartman or anyone associated with the church to come forward.

Brother Hartman's case prompted the diocese to send its first round of letters in March to alumni who attended North Catholic during the years Brother Hartman worked. When that produced reports, a second round went out April 24 to some 9,000 alumni who attended in all years.

The second letter prompted allegations against Marianist brothers William Charles HIldebrand and Francis Meder, both of whom worked there in the 1950s and 1960s and are now deceased.

Allegations were also made against Brother John Keegan, who left the religious order in 1962 and whose current whereabouts are unknown. He would be 88 if still alive, Father Lengwin said.

Also identified was Brother Ralph Mravintz, who taught at North Catholic in the early 1960s and mid-1980s and is now deceased. He was convicted in 1986 of disorderly conduct related to sexual overtures made to a 15-year-old boy.

The diocese is offering counseling to anyone who reports having been abused, Father Lengwin said.

The Pennsylvania abuse hotline is 1-800-932-0313 and the diocesan victim assistance line is 1-888-808-1235.


Mary Niederberger: mniederberger@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1590.


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