Priest deserves better
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In light of the fact that no formal charges have been made against the Rev. James Graham, the longtime pastor of the former St. Lawrence O'Toole parish in Garfield, it is time for the Diocese of Pittsburgh to admit publicly that he was falsely accused at the most inopportune time of the final two weeks before he was to retire from his many years of service to the diocese and his parishioners. Father Graham was placed on administrative leave last year while the diocese investigated an allegation that he sexually abused a minor more than 40 years ago ("City Priest Taken Out of Ministry Amid '60s Abuse Claim," April 18, 2012, Post-Gazette).
The parish is entitled to an explanation and Father Graham should be allowed to return for his last weekend of Masses to the community that so appreciates and loves him. Let him go out with dignity.
No one else has come forward and there are no other claims to back the accusation or any other misdeed or proof of any acts for the past 50 years.
I have known Father Graham for more than 40 years. My mother was the housekeeper and cook for the parish for 25 years and my brothers and friends spent many days at the parish house and community center with Father Graham and not one thing ever happened that was inappropriate. He made it possible for the youth to have a safe haven under his care and leadership. He maintained his priestly demeanor at all times.
God knows as I and others do that he is innocent of the charges.
ANTHONY (ANTOS) LISOWSKI
First Published February 23, 2013 12:00 am