Local Law Firm Investigating Claims of Alleged Child Sexual Abuse by Former Priest

Chaffin Luhana LLP is investigating potential cases of child sexual abuse by a former priest of the Pittsburgh Episcopalian Diocese. 

March 18, 2021, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania — The Right Reverend Dorsey W. M. McConnell, D.D. , 8th Bishop of the Episcopalian Diocese of Pittsburgh, issued a statement Friday, March 12th, 2021, in response to recent allegations of child sexual abuse against Charles Appel, once a priest in the Pittsburgh Diocese. The complaint reports the alleged abuse occurred in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, taking place at Sheldon Calvary Camp, a camping ministry of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh located in Conneaut, Ohio.

In his statement, Reverend McConnell states, “Please know that today in the Diocese of Pittsburgh and at Sheldon Calvary Camp, we are absolutely committed to the safety of everyone, especially our children. All staff and volunteers who work with children are required to complete training called Safeguarding God’s Children every three years, and our diocese has extensive and updated Policies for the Protection of Children and Youth From Abuse in effect in all of our congregations and programs, including mandatory background checks. If allegations of child abuse were reported to any member of the clergy or any church or camp employee today, we would immediately contact civil authorities.”

“Acknowledging this part of our diocese’s history is painful. However, as Christians, we must be committed to the safety and well-being of everyone, and to transparency about any misconduct or abuse. To that end, I want to invite and encourage anyone in our congregations or in the community who may have information about this allegation, or who wishes to speak about any related situations involving Mr. Appel, to contact our diocesan intake officers, the Reverend Catherine Munz or the Reverend Canon James Shoucair, via email at intake@episcopalpgh.org or by phone at 412-721-0853 ext. 257. All conversations about this matter will be kept strictly confidential.”

Mr. Appel was allegedly involved at Calvary Camp from approximately 1971 until 1982. Mr. Appel was also allegedly a teacher at St. Edmund’s Academy in Pittsburgh.  During that time, he was allegedly also vicar of the former Church of Good Samaritan in Liberty Borough, PA. Almost 20 years later, in 2001, Mr. Appel renounced his priesthood in the Episcopal Church after charges were brought against him under the Church’s clergy disciplinary system. In 2014, he was sentenced to five years in federal prison for receiving pornographic videos of children. He died in 2019.

“Child sexual abuse is among the most reprehensible crimes a person can commit, potentially leaving victims with lifelong physical and psychological injuries,” states Chaffin Luhana LLP Founding Partner, Eric Chaffin. “Our goal is to help victims of Mr. Appel receive fair compensation, along with preventing future incidents by holding responsible parties  accountable.”

The law firm of Chaffin Luhana is investigating claims against Mr. Appel and the Episcopalian Diocese of Pittsburgh, and invites any survivors of abuse to contact the firm immediately at (888) 480-1123. All calls and details will be kept strictly confidential.


Dan Reo
Chaffin Luhana LLP


About Chaffin Luhana
Chaffin Luhana LLP is a plaintiffs-only law firm with a national trial practice focused on representing injured victims in catastrophic and complex cases, and drug and products liability litigation. With over 115 years of experience and over $1 billion recovered by our attorneys, our hard-working team includes former federal and state prosecutors, former state and federal judicial law clerks, former large defense firm attorneys, court-appointed leaders in the national plaintiffs’ bar and an on-staff social worker. Yet, despite our tremendous success inside and outside of the courtroom, our attorneys and staff remain grounded and true to our humble roots. We pride ourselves in being compassionate and empathetic toward our clients and communities, and treat them like family, which is in keeping with our core values of “Doing Good by Doing Right.™ Every Day. In Everything We Do.”

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