PA Attorney General Josh Shapiro announces Grand Jury report detailing abuses by the Catholic church / Photograph by Matt Rourke / Licensed for use by BeaverCountian.com via Associated Press

The attorney for Beaver County Children and Youth Services admitted to terminating the investigation of a priest accused of child molestations when he was the county’s district attorney in 1964 because he wanted the Diocese of Pittsburgh’s political backing.

Robert Masters’ contract won’t be renewed, county Commissioner Dan Camp said Tuesday. Masters earned a total of $162,941.48 in 2016, and $110,069.31 last year from the county. He served as the county’s district attorney from 1964 to 1967. He was hired for the CYS position in 1989 at a salary initially not to exceed $16,000 a year.

“I did not find out about this until Attorney General (Josh) Shapiro mentioned his name in a press conference today,” Camp said. “When I heard about it, I went down and talked with our law department.”

The shocking revelation was one of many in a voluminous grand jury report released Tuesday by Shapiro. The report accuses Roman Catholic officials in six of the state’s eight dioceses of covering up criminal sexual behavior by at least 300 priests and affecting more than 1,000 victims.

The grand jury noted that nearly every case was too old to be prosecuted. And such is the case with the late Rev. Ernest Paone, who began his priesthood in 1957 to 1960 at St. Titus in Aliquippa, and later served from 1961 to 1962 at the now closed St. Monica’s in Wampum and St. Theresa in Koppel. But if Masters had chosen to prosecute, at least one of Paone’s alleged victims might have gotten justice.

In 1962, St. Monica’s pastor notified Bishop John Wright that he’d interceded to prevent Paone, a parochial vicar, from being arrested for “molesting young boys of the parish and the use of guns with even younger parishioners.” The pastor told Wright that Paone was involved in “conduct degrading to the priesthood” and “scandalous to the parishioners.”

In response, the diocese reassigned Paone to a Sharpsburg parish.

In 1964, Masters sent a letter to Bishop Vincent Leonard, telling him he’d stopped investigations into Paone and enclosing the transcript of an interview with a woman and her son.

“I have, in order to prevent unfavorable publicity, halted all investigations into similar incidents with other young boys,” Masters wrote.

“In order to conclude this matter satisfactorily it will be necessary for me to receive a letter from you regarding treatment for the accused. I believe it would also be advisable for you to inform Monsignor Zauner of the incident so he may speak with the (redacted) family, and they may then inform our probation officer of their unwillingness to prosecute.”

No further action was taken, the grand jury wrote.

Masters was called before the grand jury last September and confronted with his letter, which was obtained from the Pittsburgh diocesan files.

When the state prosecutor asked why he would defer to the bishop on a criminal matter, Masters said, “Probably respect for the bishop. I really have no proper answer.”

Masters also admitted he wanted support from the diocese for his political career.

People who know Masters well describe him as a devout Catholic, whose faith is a major component of his life. He attends mass each morning, seven days a week, at St. Peter and Paul in Beaver.

Paone continued his career in Pennsylvania, then in California and Nevada before retiring in 2001. Over the years, the Pittsburgh diocese continually authorized Paone’s service as being of “good standing,” according to documents found in confidential archives obtained by the grand jury, and Paone was able to keep giving mass and teaching in public schools.

“There is no indication that the Diocese provided any interested parties information that Paone had sexually abused children or that the Diocese had played a role in preventing his prosecution for that conduct,” the grand jury wrote.

The report was also critical of Bishops Anthony Bevilacqua and Donald Wuerl, now the archbishop of Washington, for allowing the activity to continue.

In 1994, the Pittsburgh diocese received another complaint of child sexual abuse committed by Paone in the 1960s. The victim’s sister came forward and reported that after becoming aware of the abuse, her father “went to the rectory with a shotgun and told Father Paone that he better leave town.”

The Diocese sent Paone to St. Luke’s Institute for an evaluation.

In a confidential letter sent to St. Luke’s, the diocese acknowledged that Paone had been teaching seventh- and eighth-grade students in the diocese of San Diego for 19 years. Other memorandums obtained again listed the sexual abuse allegations and noted that concerns about Paone’s emotional and physical health had been raised as early as the 1950s while he was in seminary.

The grand jury report said the Pittsburgh diocese didn’t act to place Paone on administrative leave until after the Boston Globe in 2002 published its earth-shattering investigative work on priests accused of sexual abuse of children and the Catholic church’s practice of reassigning them.

Also in 2002, another victim told the Pittsburgh diocese Paone had sexually abused him in the 1960s. He told the church that when he was 15, Paone abused him in the boy’s home, in Paone’s car, and in a wooded hunting camp Paone took him to. The abuse included fondling, oral and anal sex.

Paone also gave the boy alcohol, pornographic magazines and cash. The diocese notified Paone and the Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office but the statute of limitations had long expired.

In 2003, Wuerl accepted Paone’s resignation from ministry. Wuerl wrote a letter acknowledging Paone’s request while providing assurance that “sustenance needs and benefits will continue according to the norms of law.”

But in a 2006 confidential memorandum, it was revealed that Paone had been “assisting with confessions for confirmation-age children, apparently asking inappropriate questions of the young penitents.”

When questioned, Paone told local officials that he had permission from the diocese, but the diocese sent him a letter reminding him his faculties were revoked.

Paone died in 2012.

Now believed to be in his mid-80s, Masters couldn’t be reached for comment Tuesday. CYS Director Dayna Revay also couldn’t be reached.

Commissioner Camp, who received campaign contributions from Masters, said, “I am going to be returning that money. I am not sure yet what the total will be … This is not a political decision, it is my personal belief that I cannot and will not be associated with anyone who harms children.”

Commissioner Tony Amadio, who also received money from Masters, couldn’t be reached for comment.

Commissioner Sandie Egley said she had never heard of Masters until Tuesday.

“I am almost speechless,” Egley said. “This is not anything you can ever prepare for. When you talk about the most innocent people in Beaver County, you are talking about our children. For him to be in any way connected with giving legal advice involving children for God’s sake, my mind is spinning with questions.”

BeaverCountian.com’s John Paul contributed to this report.

From the Grand Jury report.

The 884-page grand jury report can be downloaded from BeaverCountian.com in its entirety here.

Lori Boone
Lori Boone (DeLauter) has more than 20 years of experience in investigative and community journalism. She’s won more than a dozen regional, state and national journalism awards.

51 COMMENTS

  1. Typical dirty beaver county always on the take over fifty years of corruption. Beware it always comes back and bites you in the ass.

     
    • Right, has nothing to do with a culture of pedophilia and cover ups related to the Catholic Church.(who the hell swears off intimacy for a lifetime). Of course Catholics don’t hold a patent on corruption and buried sexual deviation. Devotion to buildings and men in the name of some “divine spirit” shouldn’t define your life. Just live a good life, don’t fuck with anybody, and enjoy the short time we have here.

       
  2. The Beaver County Courthouse was and is home to the most perverted disturbed individuals in the State. have been and are criminally insane. With no respect for there fellow human beings let alone the law. No such thing as right or wrong for most of the people in that court house. Sooner or later they will all pay for what they have done. When one of them gets caught. Have empathy for them. They go to mass every Sunday.

     
  3. This makes me so sick! I can remember Masters, and he was never for the children. He is also a member of the good old boys club. It makes me wonder who else was aware of the molestations. Since he knew, and the diocese knew I would assume the various law enforcement departments did nothing to stop this. Sickening.

     
  4. Don’t forget, this POS Master’s was the attorney for PA Cyber. Old Trombetta must have not had to search very far for a bigger vile POS than him.

     
    • Two of the priests on the list were at Quigley with Nick Trombetta. The headmaster was sent away, finally defrocked, and got a job counseling young kids in WV. Many of the staff at PA Cyber come from Quigley as well. It’s a very tight-knit group, who would have gotten a piece of that $8 million scam by getting contracts with no bidding. They created companies to provide the technology, the books, the curricula, etc.

       
  5. This guy is the attorney for PA Cyber, that old cesspool??? Some should look into that place. It’s still being run by a bunch of scammers

     
  6. God doesn’t want that pos at church everyday. There are not any worse people on earth than that. If that bastard tries to give me the sign of peace, I’ll spit in his hand.

    Sad to see Zubick even had a hand in passing along the pedos to other parishes. Horrid.

     
    • Considering his sins, he SHOULD be in church every day. Front row, and center. Just don’t sit too close in case the bolt of lightning misses its target.

       
  7. The Catholic Church also the wealthiest organization in the world. has been engaged in sexual misconduct, rape and orgies for thousands of years. History will confirms it going all the way back to the original Roman Empire. The Confessional Seal today…I’m not so sure about that. Get your checkbook out Bishop.

    Camp says Masters contract won’t be renewed instead of firing him immediately and putting sanctions on him. Camp says “I am going to be returning that money. I am not sure yet what the total will be … This is not a political decision, it is my personal belief that I cannot and will not be associated with anyone who harms children.” Camp will never return the money and Camp harms children every time he misspends tax dollars and raise taxes, taking food out of the mouth of children.
    Egley says she never heard of Masters even though she has been paying him tax dollars amounting to over $100,000 per year.
    Amadio can’t be reached for comment. I’m pretty sur he won’t be returning any money to anyone.
    CYS Director Dayna Revay also couldn’t be reached. Revay gets paid way to much. Again over $100,000 per year, and can’t be reached.
    My guess is they will find a corner to hide Masters in and keep him on the payroll and no body will be none the wiser.
    The response and lack of response by these officials and the fact that a Commissioner has never heard of a county employee getting paid that kind of money is as interesting as the sex abuse story itself.
    Keep collecting your over inflated and undeserved tax payer funded paychecks and carry on.

     
    • Really JQ? There are thousands of contracts with the county and more than 700 employees. Since Camp said he wouldn’t be renewing his contract, I’d assume that Masters is contracted as the attorney. An attorney contracted by CYS making 100k wouldn’t seem too far from the mark. Even the deputies on their phone at the front door make more than that and our stellar DA makes 160k.

      The two commissioners (Dan and Tony)who know him personally and accepted money for their campaign is very different than not knowing the name of a contracted attorney.

      The voters have been looking for someone who wasn’t connected to anyone politically .. finally it happens.. and then be mad she doesn’t know their name? C’mon!

       
    • They are County Commissioners entrusted with public funds. Camp and Egley have been there 2 years. They should damn well how and to whom those public funds are being dispersed. As far as Masters, he failed to do his job as District Attorney. He did the complete opposite and talked the victims into retreating and then he proceeded to cover up a horrible crime and then he put the cover up IN WRITING! He goes to church everyday….that is truly laughable. That mother fucker should have died in his sleep in 1964.

       
    • All of CYS is useless and corrupt here in Beaver County. They all collect paychecks but dont do right for the little ones they are supposed to protect. Revay’s hubby’s company got the bid for parenting classes – which are USELESS btw – hmmm wonder how that happened. Look at the salaries they both get… Not to mention some other rather large amounts being paid.

       
  8. The money Masters gets paid and he can’t be reached? Shouldn’t he be at work in his office? This is a perfect example of your tax dollars at work and obstruction of justice. Also former Judge Joseph S Walko was privy to this heinous atrocious act and did NOTHING for decades. County employees operate and do anything they want with impunity and zero repercussions. Next election these sons of bitches are all OUT!

     
    • Perhaps with this revelation the young guy who wants our support for DA will realize just why we do not want friends and family. At all!! I wish him the best but he will never get my vote because of his ‘lineage’.

       
  9. Yep the Good ole Boys strike again. FYI there are a multitude of Good ole boys in Beaver County all from the same cesspool. Do your homework. These SOB’s get away with murder. Their weekly meetings are hush hush over a bottle of scotch where discussions are about how to sweep this one under the rug. After the bottle is empty the decisions have been made and they all conquer they have decided on whats right to save their asses. To hell with a persons dignity and well being. Finally the truth comes out keep digging JP you’re on the right track. Unfortunately only the elite are allowed to join and must take an oath not to reveal the secrets within. Indeed corrupt in every sense of the word. No Morales no values all business.

     
  10. Robert Masters’ legal partner is Joe Askar. That explains a lot. What could he possibly do, at 80 years old, for that kind of money? Surely there is someone younger and sharper who would do it for much less. Also, I believe the commissioners should know all about everyone who makes a significant salary; especially in a budget crunch.

     
    • Marsha: Why does Asswipe Askar’s name keep popping up with bad investment advise, corruption on the Ridge deal (Dual role as attorney for BOTH sides!!), meetings with mobsters over casinos, etc.? Add up all the piss poor advice given while working for this county and it adds up to millions squandered without ramifications. He is connected to Big pat and his crew right? Why is he still practicing law? Another in a long list of thieving political hacks in this county. When will the taxpayers say ENOUGH? I love what the people of WVA did to their Supreme Court. Maybe we need to find out how to recall our county government officials and fire them out onto the street too.

       
      • Mustn’t forget the party he threw at FR for the governor after the sale. That was likely part of a deal that was tacked on to the county’s $3 million owed to FR. And Askar got to play the big shot on the county’s dime. It’s all just so wrong.

         
  11. This has to be the worst, most corrupt and laziest county government not only in the state, but in the US of A. They are just a bunch of drones doing as least as possible and showing up for a paycheck. No accountability for anything to anybody.

     
  12. An arrest should be made TODAY !
    The attorney for Beaver County CHILDREN and YOUTH Services ? Involved in this heinous cover up. TODAY, as Robert Masters walks out of the doors at St. Peter and Paul in Beaver, I would have him arrested.

     
    • Through Masters(devout Catholic) self-serving actions, he allowed this KNOWN PEDOPHILE (Paone) to continue molesting and damaging lives up until his death in 2012.

       
  13. Such bad dark karma is upon all of them! Too bad the father with the shotgun didn’t get to do some cleansing of the depraved vermin. The history of the Catholic Church is written in blood and every type of abuse imaginable. Everyone who had/has a part in this is evil. Enjoy hell the lot of you!

     
  14. Birds of a feather flock together. How many pedophiles are in or associated with the BC courthouse crowd. Keep your children close. Protecting and looking out for pedophiles. Nothing going on here all is well Masters will look out for the abused children of Beaver County.

     
  15. His contract won’t be renewed????? Why is he still there at all? Why was he EVER there at all??? what do you bet he collects a nice pension , too , for his years of “service” to the diocese, errrrrrrrrrrrr county.

    Masters has basically admitted that he ignored prosecuting cases in order to get political support and he was the fucking DA !!!!! But he STILL gets a check from the county. What is considered a crime in this county; pinwheeling a golf course? The sacred ground! A corrupt, 80-something old fart getting $100K+a year from the county. I’m sure he’s also very productive in that “job” on top of everything else.

    And , of course, we have our Three Stooges for the New millennium…. Danny is sending back that money! Tony Amadio is again lost at sea or whatever and sweet, little Sandie ” I never heard” of a county employee pulling in over $100k a year. Way to stay on top of things! Hear no evil, speak no evil, see no evil. Just like those monkeys…

    You could say that God will damn Beaver County for all of this, but realistically, look around you.

     
  16. Dayna Revay gets paid $101,000 a year by the taxpayers. As director of CYS she should be available 24 hours day or night 365 days a year. As a taxpayer, I would like to know why she was not available for comment and I would also like to hear a statement to the public of her thoughts on this outrageous discovery. These public officials are collecting gigantic welfare checks that are called paychecks and we are the ones paying it. Yet none of them ever answer to us.

     
    • Really dont leave out her husband gets a taxpayer paycheck also. CYS here in Beaver County is just as much of a joke as our good commissioners are. Someone recently told me to call CYS about an important matter, but sadly they DO NOTHING – neglect of a child is too much for them to contend with…

       
  17. Being that this has just been discovered, shouldn’t the statute of limitations time wise be renewed? Prosecute Masters for abuse of office, abuse of power and conspiracy, and anyone else that knew about this if they are still alive. You know damn well that in 1964 every fucking person in that courthouse knew about this. This is very similar to war criminals. Hunt them down and lock their asses up. They sat in that courthouse all their life and nobody did nothing!

     
  18. As far as I’m concerned Masters not only didn’t do his job as D.A., he didn’t do his job as a decent human being. Our job as adults is to protect the children. You think going to church seven days a week makes a good person, THINK AGAIN!!
    The old sheriff stands in back of the church every Sunday too. I think we all witnessed what he is capable of. All for a little power and the almighty dollar.

     
    • Standing in church on Sunday doesn’t make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.

       
  19. Please understand that these people are SEXUAL OFFENDERS, not just pedophiles. In fact, a pedophile is simply someone who is attracted to children, all pedophiles do not molest, assault or rape children. Would you also believe that Pedophilia is listed as a mental disease!!! ( pedophilia disorder). It’s not a disease but a choice when acted upon. Some of the victims of these Catholic demons were adults. This should be a wake-up call and immediate actions taken. Remove any tax-exempt status from all churches, force all churches to adopt the 4 recommendations of the Grand Jury, sanction, fine arrest and punish all those responsible regardless of the statute of limitations. Real sexual assault is devastating to those impacted, I know first hand as my mother was sexually abused by a worker in an assisted living facility. This “motherfucker” only spent 90 days in jail and 5 years probation. I personally know Bishop Zubic as he married my wife and I, and it is difficult to see he was part of the coverup with Paone. We left the Catholic church long ago as the cultish, contradictory, self-serving attitude was too much. The collection plate and envelope were more important that family struggles or the need to be helped. Child molesting, abduction and sexual crimes are at the top of my list of the worst crimes and the failure of the system is well documented in these coverups and political tradeoffs. And please don’t give the bullshit that those involved will answer to a higher power or face judgment day as those that believe in that, would also believe that the church they commit to, the leadership and those ministering to them would guide and protect them. No, these weak little men, these brainwashed mindless faux faithful cocksuckers simply fucked , sucked, sodomized, impregnated and wielded the Catholic faith like a weapon affection thousands of people, destroying lives and futures. AG Shapiro stated that this will help the victims heal, well maybe for a short period of time, then it comes back, and the victims get pissed, that nothing will ever change. It may be time to take these issues into the hands of the public.

     
  20. It makes me sick to read that letter from Masters. That fucking brazen old fuck got some unfavorable publicity now. Wonder how much it cost to buy a DA in 1964.

     
  21. Just read that Masters was fired this afternoon. At 80 yrs old why does he give a flyin shit if he gets fired. He covered up/ lied/and contributed to the abuse of innocent children all while collecting taxpayer dollars. His life will not be effected by this late grand stand by the BC Commissioners. Their first response was “his contract will not be renewed but we will let him continue to work til the end of it and by the way don’t connect us to him we will give his money back” They are low life moral less individuals as well. Now 8 hrs later they decided they better fire him. Seriously, those 3 useless pieces of shit elected officials called commissioners. Glad when they are all gone.

     
  22. The Local Catholic Church, St. Peter and Paul Beaver, needs to take action. Robert Masters should never be allowed to step one foot in this church or any other. If the Catholic Church wants to survive, START DOING THE RIGHT THING. I would much rather see Masters serve his remaining years in a federal prison.

    These creeps and those who helped to conceal this abuse, throw them the fuck out of places of worship.

     
    • I’m sure Masters offers a good amount of $$$ to the church if he does mass 7 days a week. Sts P&P would look highly upon his generous donation.

       
      • Yep bobb … and that’s the problem and coupled with the sexual abuse it will be the downfall of the church, as well it should be.

         
  23. Did PA Cyber fire him also? My guess is they won’t. Glad to see CYS fired Masters since the organization’s purpose is to protect kids and he obviously didn’t think doing that was as important as his political career. But the brazen assholes at PA Cyber should do the same since you know they are an organization that’s supposed to be about kids. They probabaly won’t though bc there is no scrutiny of that place. They can hire board members to salaries positions, spend millions of taxpayer money without answering to anyone, appoint their own complicit board members, and no one pays attention. So yeah, he will probably keep his job.

     

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