- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 7, 2014

PITTSBURGH (AP) - Alumni of a western Pennsylvania Catholic high school whose former teacher is being prosecuted for child-sex crimes overseas have leveled sex abuse allegations against four other brothers from the same religious order - three of whom are known to be dead.

The Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh said only one graduate of the city’s North Catholic High School contacted church officials about Marianist Brother Bernard Hartman. That happened after the diocese sent some alumni a letter in March after local church officials learned the74-year-old clergyman is awaiting trial in Australia on charges he molested two boys and two girls at a Catholic school there in the 1970s and 80s.

The first letter went to alumni who would have attended the school when Hartman taught there in 1961, 1979 and then from 1986-97.

That letter prompted one student to lodge a “credible” complaint against Hartman, church officials said. But a handful of other graduates also complained about three other Marianist brothers who worked at the school decades ago.

The diocese then sent a second letter, naming those brothers, and asking all 9,000 alumni of the school whether they’ve ever been abused. That letter resulted in another allegation against a fifth Marianist brother who formerly worked at the school.

The Rev. Ronald Lengwin, diocesan spokesman, said Wednesday the four newly accused brothers either taught at the school or worked in its cafeteria.

The three brothers identified in the second letter, William Hildebrand, Francis Meder, and Ralph Mravintz have since died. Hildebrand worked at the school from 1951 to 1961; Meder from 1952 to 1967 and again from 1970 until 1976; and Mravintz from 1960 to 1964, the letter said.

The allegation prompted by the second letter is against John Keegan, who left the St. Louis-based Marianist religious order in 1962, Lengwin said.

“They don’t know where he went or whether he’s alive,” Lengwin said, referring to the Marianists. “He would be 88 years old if he’s still alive.”

The diocese has referred the new allegations against Hartman and Keegan to Allegheny County prosecutors.

The Marianist Province of the United States has acknowledged removing Hartman from the Pittsburgh school without publicly explaining why. The religious order said Hartman has since been given treatment and barred from teaching under a “safety plan,” during which he performed mostly clerical work, none of which involved children. For most of that time he lived in Dayton, Ohio.

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