Those are the words of a suspended Philadelphia priest, Fr. Joseph DiGregorio, accused of sexually abusing a teenage girl. Over the weekend, he took to the airwaves to defend himself:
Father Joseph DiGregorio spoke out on a local radio station on Friday and even took calls from listeners as he tries to defend himself from allegations he says are not true.
DiGregorio is quite adamant that he’s done nothing wrong. He appeared on Dom Giordano’s show with his attorney Greg Pagano and steadfastly defended himself, saying he hopes he’s not being made the fall guy for the archdiocese.
Father DiGregorio has not been charged criminally, but he is trying to clear the air about allegations he and another priest had allegedly sexually abused a young woman 40 years ago while he was stationed at our Lady Of Loreto Parish in Philadelphia.
He was suspended this week by Cardinal Justin Rigali as the diocese reinvestigated allegations against other priests.
That decision came in the wake of last week’s grand jury charges against four priests and accusations that the archdiocese failed to identify abusive priests and protect children.
DiGregorio says he was a priest just five months when the alleged incidents occurred.
“Every statement she made concerning me is an absolute lie, completely and totally a lie. I never once touched her, I never once groped her or did anything inappropriate. I was never in her company alone except for times I saw her when she came to the rectory to see him,” he said.
“I love my country, I love my church. I am not intimidated by false accusations against my character. I am however angry, very angry and I intend to fight these allegations with every legal means at my disposal. I applaud any group or organization, including snap that seeks to protect minors against any abuse sexual or otherwise by anyone. I also applaud those who seek the truth with honesty,” he said.
Father DiGregorio started to cry this morning when a number of parishioners called in to the radio show and expressed support for him. He promises to fight the allegations against him.