Letter to Persico re Nowicki Misconduct

On October 1, 2012, Archabbot Douglas Nowicki stood outside St. Peter Cathedral with newly installed Bishop Lawrence Persico.

A month earlier, then Msgr. Persico met with the webmaster of this web site to discuss sexual misconduct by Archabbot Nowicki. After hearing the allegations against Nowicki, Persico commented that this type of misconduct, “is not something that should be happening between an Archabbot and a junior monk.”

And yet there they stood, credibly accused sexual deviant Douglas Nowicki and the Church’s newest bishop.

The following letter was sent to Bishop-Elect Msgr. Lawrence Persico on September 19, 2012. After receiving no response, the letter is now being made public.


September 19, 2012
Msgr. Lawrence T. Persico
Diocese of Greensburg
723 East Pittsburgh Street
Greensburg, PA 15601-2636

RE: Archabbot Douglas Nowicki O.S.B. Alleged Sexual Misconduct

Bishop-Elect Persico,

Thank you for taking the time to meet with me at the chancery office
of the Diocese of Greensburg on August 27, 2012 regarding the sexual
and other misconduct allegedly perpetrated by Archabbot Douglas R.
Nowicki, O.S.B. from nearby Saint Vincent’s Abbey in Latrobe,

It is my sincere hope, per our conversation and conformance with the
exacting provisions of Canon 480 within the 1983 Code of Canon Law,
that you have by now relayed the salient points of our conversation
with the Most Rev. Lawrence E. Brandt, Bishop of the Diocese of

I was quite impressed that you remembered me from by brief
conversation with H.E. Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò after mass at
Blessed Sacrament Cathedral on June 30, 2012. On that day, I shared
with the Archbishop my background, including over twenty years
investigating claims of sexual misconduct by the Benedictines in the
United States, most notably at Saint John’s (Minnesota), Saint Mary’s
(New Jersey) and in Saint Vincent’s (Pennsylvania). The Archbishop
seemed interested in my concerns, many of which are contained herein.

Referring to our meeting, you will recall that I showed you several
documents, including the original, signed and notarized three-page
statement of a former young monk who alleged multiple acts of sexual
misconduct by Archabbot Douglas Nowicki. You retained a redacted copy
of this original statement.

Also left in your possession was a copy of the “Denunciation of
Archabbot Douglas Nowicki”, which was submitted to the competent
Vatican Dicastery of the Roman Curia – the Congregation for Institutes
of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, by Mr. Robert
J.B. Flummerfelt, J.C.L., J.D., on October 5, 2011. The denunciation
was acknowledged by said Dicastery in a letter signed by the
Undersecretary Fr. Sebastiano Paciolia, O. Cist., dated 16 December
2011. A copy of this acknowledgement was also left in your possession.

I greatly appreciate your stated commitment to carefully review this
documentation before forwarding it on to the Most Rev. Lawrence E.
Brandt, and your successor.

During our meeting, however, I was greatly troubled by your statement
that the complaint against Nowicki had been investigated and dismissed
by the leadership within the American-Cassinese Congregation and as a
result, there was nothing the diocese could do.

First, from your statement, it is confirmed that the Diocese of
Greensburg was aware of an allegation of sexual misconduct having been
made against Nowicki. Hence, it is difficult to comprehend in light of
the exacting provisions of the Dallas Charter, why the priestly
faculties of Archabbot Nowicki were not suspended within the Diocese.

It is canonically and morally indefensible that Archabbot Nowicki was
not publicly prohibited from celebrating the Eucharist in accordance
with the Norms contained within the Dallas Charter, and the exacting
provisions of Canon 1722, when these allegations first came to light.

Second, as we discussed, the leadership within the American-Cassinese
Congregation has been, and continues to be, rife with compromise and
corruption. Former Abbot-President Timothy Kelly, O.S.B., who oversaw
the original investigation of the allegations against Archabbot
Nowicki, has been the subject of credible allegations of sexual
misconduct – and had a long history of covering up misconduct by
offending monks within the Congregation. Serious procedural flaws
pertaining to Abbot-President Kelly’s investigation of Archabbot
Nowicki have emerged, as has evidence of an apparent abuse of the
United States Postal Service.

Certainly, I am able to provide you and others with details upon request.

In short, the American-Cassinese Congregation’s investigation of the
Nowicki matter was conducted with a measure of self-preservation and
long-standing institutional corruption, exemplified and personified so
well by former Abbot Timothy Kelly, former legal strategist Father Dan
Ward, and the Congregation’s current Abbot-President, Hugh Anderson
and its procurator, Father Elias Lorenzo. Kelly, Ward and Lorenzo have
all been credibly accused not only of misconduct but of enabling the
misconduct of others.

In January of this year, and despite his knowledge of misconduct by
Father Luke Travers, a monk and priest of Saint Mary’s Abbey,
Abbot-President Hugh Anderson (in at least one reported conversation
with the Vicar General of the Diocese of Richmond) supported Father
Luke Travers’ presence at Mary Mother of the Church Abbey, a presence
that allowed Travers to interact with young men of the same age as
Father Travers’ previous victims.

While it is likely too late for the American-Cassinese Congregation to
salvage its reputation concerning matters of misconduct, the Diocese
of Greensburg must not appear to be negligent in its obligations to
uphold the highest standards of child welfare – or a party to the
American-Cassinese’s cover-up.

Accordingly, I am requesting that you provide answers to the following

1) When was the Diocese of Greensburg first made aware of the
allegations made against Nowicki?

2) Why were the priestly faculties of Archabbot Nowicki to minister
within the Diocese of Greensburg not immediately withdrawn by the
bishop, when the allegations of Nowicki’s misconduct first became

It is my understanding that when allegations of sexual misconduct were
made against the following priests from Saint Vincent Archabbey: Fr.
Alvin Dowey, Fr. Athanasius Cherry, Fr. Andrew Campbell – their
priestly faculties to minister within the Diocese of Greensburg were
immediately withdrawn.

There is clearly a duality of approach by the Diocese of Greensburg
with respect to Archabbot Nowicki – that is completely indefensible.

The behavior of the Diocese of Greensburg is even more difficult to
comprehend when it is clearly recorded within two Decrees issued by
the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith that the priestly
faculties of Father Mark Gruber were withdrawn by the Bishop of the
Diocese of Greensburg on August 7, 2009.

Furthermore, it is recorded as irrefutable evidence that Archabbot
Nowicki failed to immediately involve the Pennsylvania State Police as
required by Pennsylvania State law to immediately report Father Mark
Gruber to the State Police. This is a misdemeanor, and in light of the
recent conviction of Bishop Finn from Diocese of Kansas City-Saint
Joseph, Archabbot Nowicki should thereby be subjected to criminal

Upon my return to the State of Pennsylvania, a meeting will be
scheduled with the District Attorney of Westmoreland County to discuss
these matters. It certainly noteworthy that the State Police
completely exonerated Father Mark Gruber of any misconduct.

Archabbot Nowicki’s sustained and quite public campaign against Father
Mark Gruber is nothing short of a smokescreen, created to divert
attention from his own sexual misconduct, involving at least two
junior monks, and his role on the cover-up of countless other cases of
misconduct within the Dioceses of Pittsburgh and Greensburg.

Archabbot Nowicki is archabbot of an autonomous abbey within the
Diocese of Greensburg. Has not the bishop a moral obligation, by
virtue of being entrusted with the pastoral governance of said Diocese
to exercise his jurisdiction, in so far as it is possible to do so, by
removing the priestly faculties of Archabbot Nowicki within his
canonical territory?

Effective pastoral governance and moral leadership now requires the
bishop to directly petition for an intervention in the form of an
Apostolic Visitation conducted by Visitors from outside the
American-Cassinese Congregation at the Archabbey. How many more young
monks must be driven from the Archabbey – and their calling as
religious – because of Archabbot Nowicki’s sexual appetite?

You do have measures you can take in order to safeguard children and
vulnerable persons within the diocese and at Saint Vincent’s
Archabbey. I am requesting that the leadership of the Diocese of
Greensburg to implement the measures available to it, along with
petitioning the competent Dicastery of the Roman Curia – The
Congregation For Religious to commence an Apostolic Visitation
immediately at St Vincent Archabbey.

I have spoken with several of the monks at Saint Vincent’s. These men
live in fear of Archabbot Nowicki. They have seen firsthand that
Nowicki, if crossed, will stop at nothing to discredit and dehumanize
another member of the community. I am confident that a credibly
conducted visitation will confirm that Archabbot Nowicki does not have
the support of his community and has acted in a manner inconsistent
with the position of Archabbot. To take no action is to be complicit,
and give undeserved credibility to Archabbot Nowicki.

As you stated during our meeting, this type of misconduct, “is not
something that should be happening between an Archabbot and a junior
monk.” Should Archabbot Nowicki reoffend, or more victims come
forward, it would be an unfortunate circumstance for the diocese – and
certainly for all victims of Archabbot Nowicki – if it were shown that
the Diocese of Greensburg with alacrity willfully ignored both Canon
Law along with the Norms of the Dallas Charter. The bishop of the
Diocese of Greensburg holds a doctorate in Canon Law, and you hold a
License in Canon Law, by virtue of this letter you have been informed
in writing, and now the time for excuses are over – action in
accordance to the norms of the Dallas Charter is required IMMEDIATELY.

In time, the culture of fear, corruption and compromise at Saint
Vincent’s will be inexorably exposed – as will the culpability of the
past and present leadership within the American-Cassinese

It is my sincere hope that when your successor is appointed on
September 22, 2012, he will be immediately informed of all matters of
alleged misconduct in Saint Vincent’s Abbey in Latrobe, and work
diligently in accordance in accordance to the Code of Canon Law, the
provisions of the Norms contained within the Dallas Charter and with
the bishop of the diocese for the protection of all of its members,
but especially for the young and vulnerable.

Finally, it is respectfully suggested that it would be wholly
inappropriate for Archabbot Nowicki to attend your installation as
Bishop of the Diocese of Erie.

In due course, your current diocese – and future diocese – may wish
to express your disapprobation towards the current leadership at
Saint Vincent Archabbey by withdrawing your seminarians from the
seminary at Saint Vincent’s.

May the leadership within the Diocese of Greenburg help shed light
upon the darkness. It is not too late to save Saint Vincent’s
Archabbey, a once prominent and respected institution; first and
foremost, however, what is needed is the courage to act in accordance
with the law for justice and truth.


Patrick J. Marker


His Eminence, Marc Cardinal Ouellet, P.S.S.
His Eminence, João Cardinal Bráz de Aviz
His Eminence, Raymond L. Cardinal Burke
His Excellency, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò
H.E. Archbishop Charles J. Chaput O.F.M. Cap.
Most Rev. Lawrence E. Brandt
Most Rev. R. Daniel Conlon, USCCB Bishops’ Committee
Mr. John W. Peck, Esq., District Attorney Westmoreland County
Mr. Al J. Notzon III, Chairman of USCCB Review Board