Exclusive Interview: Bishop Zubik Reacts To The Rape Of A Nun In Aliquippa

Bishop David Zubik / photo by John Homich & S. Pelaia

Bishop David Zubik / photo by John Homich & S. Pelaia

She answered violence with love, and prevented a cycle which far too often perpetuates hate in today’s society. Those are the thoughts of Pittsburgh Bishop David Allen Zubik, who granted an exclusive interview to the Beaver Countian in the wake of a brutal attack against an 85 year old nun outside of a church in Aliquippa last week.

“It was Friday, I’m a news junkie so I always have my antenna up to listen to the news. I heard a teaser on a local television station… Nun assaulted,” began Bishop Zubik. “The initial thoughts are the ones that are still with me, every single day we continue to hear one story after another over violent attacks on other people.”

Police say Andrew Clarence Bullock, age 18 of Orchard Street, attacked the nun at around 11:30am on Friday in a parking lot outside of St. Titus Parish. The woman told police that she was putting papers into a recycling bin when a man came up from behind her, asking if she needed help. She told the man that she didn’t need assistance, and started walking away when he allegedly exposed himself and began forcing her down to the ground, choking and punching her face and body.

The Beaver Countian is not releasing the woman’s name because she is the victim of an alleged sexual assault.

“I have a very close relationship with the Sisters of St. Joseph, I consider them my family. They taught me in high school, I was Chaplain for the sisters for seven years in the early 1980s. I know the sister that was accosted quite well,” said Bishop Zubik. “I feel deeply what the sisters are going through because of this.”

Bishop Zubik feels society has grown accustomed to acts of violence, and desensitized to their devastating effects. “This particular story has caught people’s attention because it was not only an 85 year old woman, but it was also a Catholic Nun [...] Maybe this particular story, as tragic as it is when anybody is assaulted, should make us all take a look and say are we becoming way too comfortable and complacent with the stories of violence that we hear all the time,” he said. “It needs to get our attention so we can really try to do something personally.”

What people shouldn’t be doing, insisted Bishop Zubik, is blaming the crime on anything or anyone other than the individual responsible — anyone who would blame an entire race for the attack, or who would use the incident to caricature a race of people as particularly hostile, are themselves committing an act of violence. “Prejudice or bigotry against any person is an act of violence against that person [...] A violent act can not be countered with another violent act. People holding resentments or worse in their hearts, that can’t be the way to deal with these kinds of things [...] We have to let the good emerge in all of us.”

“If we’re going to be serious about bringing out the best of people, I think we’ve got to turn the finger in on ourselves, and say have I done anything that has in fact caused society to become insensitive to violence,” said Bishop Zubik. “One of things I often think about are some of the entertainment choices that exist among people today. Those are the kinds of things that I think contribute to violence.”

Bishop Zubik also had a message for those who were attempting to use this incident to disparage the City of Aliquippa. “The one thing that we can’t do is lose hope in anybody or any place. I know Beaver County, I grew up in Ambridge, I know Aliquippa [...] I know that Aliquippa has a good family spirit at its core. It seems to me that these kinds of events give people the opportunity to mobilize towards the best that exists in those communities.”

The Bishop said he has confidence that our justice system will handle the crime appropriately, asking the community to have patience and allow that process time to proceed.

Andrew Bullock is facing 10 charges in connection with the attack, including aggravated assault and rape. A preliminary hearing in the case has been scheduled for Thursday.

The elderly nun underwent surgery at Allegheny General to repair a broken jaw, and was released from the hospital yesterday.

The Sisters of St. Joseph released a statement following her attack reading in part, “As Sisters of St. Joseph, we live and work to bring all people into union with God, and sister manifests that spirit every day. Sister is a passionate advocate of nonviolence, peace and justice, and each month she conducts a prayer vigil for peace in the chapel of our Motherhouse. As we offer continued prayers of healing for our sister, we also pray for the young man who has been arrested in the assault.”

“This can’t be something that’s just a story that lasts for a couple of days then goes away from memory,” said Bishop Zubik. “This story, and every story of violence, has to cause us as a society to say we really have to get a hold of what is going on.”


  • Glad you can forgive this sub-human scumbag-I can’t! I am tired and fed up with most of the violent crime in this area being done by young useless black males. Like it or not, they are the main reason that the towns in this county are the shit holes that they are. Please forgive my language. :omg:

    • Your language is easy to forgive. Your less-than-Christian, racist values are another matter. Doing some volunteer work in Aliquippa’s churches, and even attending some services in Plan 11 might help you out.

    • Another racist comment on the beaver countian that is overwhelmingly approved by the readers. Go figure….

  • Please close St Titus and merge with either Fatima or Cabrini. St Titus is far too good to be stuck in the that city

    • The Catholics should flee the poor and those in prison? Doesn’t sound like the message of Pope Francis to me. He wants you to get ‘mud on your shoes’ and ‘dirt on your hands.’ What, after all, is the message of Jesus?

  • this county is far from shit

    made up of great people the majority

    and has great areas to live and raise family with good school districts and recent developments that’s keeping are people shopping here and building homes, with great communities that you can by decent homes and live with paved roads and police protection

    now aliquippa should be respected for what it was a great town and city, this’d days are over its reality

    quit trying to push development and resources to that community, fucking housing doesn’t even build there and and I mean low income housing, which is what and where it should be.

    saint Titus needs to face reality and merge, the people that fought that are the reason people get hit by cars and now worse a rape of a nun are serious, the bishops and cardinal will close it this year guarantee and stop this massacre

    sadly only the terrace and demattia plans are left and it’s fading

    police force is the low hanging fruit that can’t be hired any where else if they can they leave it’s where the misfits fit in, create urban redevelopment for this county and make the river front housing for under 45 years old and push the shit there. that’s trouble for God sakes mist of the REVs if the big black churches dint even live in the city.

    City is and always will be ran by corruption because nobody else with a brain wants control and the others have moved

  • No Jackson. Maybe if his parents had been good human beings they would have raised this kid right. Dont get me wrong, I’m not letting this punk off by blaming his parents.But we have a generation of broken empty people who were raised by equal parts TV and parental neglect.

    • You might have to go back several generations for that . His grand pa was probably stealing purses on Franklin Ave in the seventies.

  • Its just pure evil what that kid did , and hes not the only one running around doing crazy shit. I dont see how this act of evil could have ever been prevented. Besides the church not being where it is now. The 18 year old is simply plain evil and doesnt deserve to ever see daylight the rest of his life for this. Same goes for ANY OTHER rapsist , Drug Dealer , or any other violent crime . You want the craziness to stop or slow down ? Start with the court house ! Instead of giving people time in jail for stupid stuff , quit making plea bargains for the real criminals who physically hurt and kill people and start handing out maximum sentencing on every one of them . If the maximum sentence is 20 years then give it to them dont plea down to 5 or 10 if it is a violent crime. People kill people in beaver county and only get 5 to 10 years , why ? Anywhere else in the world they would be doing life or death ! Drive on a suspended license and get 90 days to years , get a dui go to jail , but if your dealing drugs and snitch , no jail , if you kill someone and pay a good lawyer plea bargain. NONE of the violent criminals stay in jail , they are left back out to polute society ! Go to texas and check out what happens there in courts ! This guy would already be dead .

    • Now we know your values include ‘cruel and unusual punishment’. Any other anti-American, pro-fascist ideas you’d like to share? I’m sure this man will be dealt with according to the law, and he won’t be let off easy. Why do you hold such fantasies and vent them in times like this is a deeper question.

  • Wow what a bunch of racist. Just maybe if there was some activities for the youth to participate in besides sports. Not all children are athletic so they have nothing to do. This a very ignorant group of people disrespecting a community. The profanity and saying forgive you is inexcusable. You typed those words. Nobama you really take the cake. So are you all wearing your bed sheets on your heads? This is definitely a moment of things have not changed and may God rescue your minds from the devil. Don’t consider your sin any different than his sin. How dare you talk as tho you are without any sin!

  • Yeah…did you get anything out of what the Bishop said? I find it funny that about 100 people could comment about all the horrible things that should be done to the attacker but no one has anything to say now. I am beyond disgusted by what happened but I dont see the point in spewing hate.

  • Please stop with the blame game. The attacker is an evil, lost soul, and there’s no saying how he got that way. St. Tutus is one of the highlights of Aliquippa, and saying they’ll be forced to merge is ridiculous. If anything, this shows how much they are needed by that community. The attacker is a young adult; he made his own decisions and will ultimately be judged by the only one who has a right to; if he had a little more Jesus in his life, the outcome could have been totally different. God bless Sister in her recovery.

  • I share the anger of all on this. But I don’t share the anti-Christian, racialized venom against a whole town and its people, or the advocacy of fascist vigilantism in place of the law. The Bishop did well to speak out here. This area needs unity and solidarity among its diverse peoples in move forward. But as we see, we have work to do.

  • i hold him responsible for his actions, BUT i also hold everyone in that community responsible. Aliquippa is a disgusting town, and everyone that lives there says, what can everyone else do to help us, Help yourselves, oh wait, historically your race is incapable of doing that. Qoute from a great movie ” lincoln freed the slaves hundreds of years ago, how long does it take to get your act together”

    • What about your race…..let’s see
      Movie theater killer dressed as the joker – how many dead?
      Columbine School killers – how many dead?
      Sandy Hook killer – how many babies dead?
      Jeffrey Dahmer – how many people did he eat?
      Greensburg 6 – (five of which were white) – killed a mentally challenge woman
      and the list goes on and on.

      Joseph Statlin – Answer for them please? What quote do you have for them?

      • Blacks make up 14% of population but 40% of welfare, 50% of all crime.
        Worldwide, every nation that is predominantly black is at the top of the list for murder rates, and crime in general. It doesnt take a rocket scientist to just look at neighborhoods before and after the blacks move in. Call me a racist, i dont care, its FACTS. mexicans live in poverty, but they risk their lives every day trying to get into this country to work and support their families, Blacks wont even apply for a job. And by the way, yeah white people do crazy disgusting things everyday. But the majority of us WORK, ABIDE by the LAW and PAY our bills( and according to the FACTS,) WE PAY MOST OF YOUR BILLS TOO……

  • The bishop must be reading some of these comments and shaking his head…..what this criminal did is appalling….the bigotry reflected in some of these responses is equally appalling.

    @josephstalin….could you please show me the “facts” that indicate that “blacks” (and I am assuming you are referring to all of them since you don’t say otherwise) won’t apply for a job? Seriously, you are just as much a waste of human flesh as the perpetrator of the assault on the nun with a belief system like that.

  • Here is one for the bishop to read, this lady has dedicated her life to god. She is a good person and after this she deserves to be sent to the Vatican to meet the Pope!!! The community and diocese needs to give up a few thousand dollars to send her to the Vatican!! I will donate if a collection is passed!! She needs to be rewarded for her blind faith and she needs to be blessed by the Pope!!!

  • May this nun have a speedy recovery. I hope and pray it was not one of the nuns who taught me at St. Titus many moons ago. :-(. And for this p.o.s. $50,000 is still too low of a bail! You are a waste of tax payer funds, and your daddies sperm. You derserve everything that is coming your way! May you rot!