Abuse survivor calls for more transparency within Charlotte Catholic Diocese

CHARLOTTE, N.C — The Catholic church abuse scandal erupted years ago, but there are still demands for accountability. Dioceses in many cities have released complete lists of names of church leaders accused of abuse — but not the Charlotte Diocese.

A North Carolina man told Eyewitness News Anchor Allison Latos he is a devout Catholic, but he is scarred by the trauma he endured during the sacrament of confession.

John Mohr said a priest preyed on him during that private moment. Now, he said he is speaking out in a push for accountability and more transparency from the Charlotte Diocese.

Mohr said his Catholic faith was rocked at St. Mary's in Wilmington in 1996 when he sought the sacrament of confession from Father Al Gondek.

"I finally got him to hear my confession and give me absolution and during that time, and during that time when we were chatting, he put his hand on my leg and he ran it all the way up," Mohr said.

Mohr said he was in shock.

"He is supposed to be listening to my confession in the church next to the blessed sacrament and he is touching me inappropriately," Mohr said.

Mohr alerted the Raleigh Diocese and when Gondek moved to the Charlotte Diocese in 1998, Mohr said he contacted church leaders there as well.

[LINK: SC priests with credible allegations of sexual misconduct or abuse of minors]

Mohr claims neither took action when he pleaded that Gondek be removed from ministry.

"I don't feel that they have listened to me," Mohr said. "I don't feel that they have comforted me. I expect more."

Dioceses nationwide have begun revealing the names of priests who have credible allegations against them of sexual abuse. In June, Mohr sent a letter to Bishops in Raleigh and Charlotte.

"One incident is too many and the effects wear on the human psyche for years. I am almost 57 and my tears still flow, they do," Mohr said in the letter.

The Bishop of Raleigh replied, saying "...On behalf of the church, please accept my most sincere apology for the incident, which should never have happened..."

Mohr said so far, he has not heard from the Charlotte Diocese.

"I want them to know that I have not disappeared," Mohr said. "I am still talking about it. I want to see him defrocked."

Mohr said he also wants the public to know the name of every priest who's been credibly accused.

In October, the Raleigh Diocese revealed a list of priests with actionable allegations of sexual abuse of a minor.

Gondek's name was on the list because of alleged abuse of a minor in 1960.

In 2015, new allegations surfaced involving a teen and while working in Lexington, North Carolina, Gondek was removed from public ministry.

The Charlotte Diocese investigated, deciding not to allow Gondek, who is now 80 years old, to continue working in the church.

The diocese has not released the names of every priest credibly accused, but the Bishop has promised that it will happen this year.

"All of those people should be held accountable for what they've done," Mohr said. "No one should experience trauma in the church. The church is supposed to be a place of comfort."


Mohr said he hopes his story helps push every diocese to be more transparent when it comes to its priests.

The Charlotte Diocese said it is reviewing historical records, including Father Gondek's personnel file, before publishing the names of any credibly accused clergy. They also stated they have followed the church's rules that have been in place since 2002 in reporting allegations of child sexual abuse.

The diocese also said Bishop Jugis is committed to accountability.

Gondek belongs to a religious order, the Oblates of St. Francis and now lives at their retirement center in Maryland.

The order is currently paying for Mohr's counseling, but told Eyewitness News Anchor Allison Latos that it does not confirm any abuse took place.

Comments on this article