by Elizabeth DeLyser and Bob Maley, Copy Editor & Editor-in-Chief
On the evening of November 3, Mark Gruber dropped all charges of his civil suit against SVC. The case was dropped after a deposition in which Gruber gave sworn testimony and was questioned extensively by SVC’s lawyers. The complaint was discontinued with prejudice, meaning that Gruber cannot file his suit again.
Gruber filed suit in early September against Saint Vincent College and several faculty and administration members. His suit alleged defamation, slander, and conspiracy against him, stemming from his termination of employment and priesthood. The college based these actions on allegations of youth-oriented homosexual pornography found on Gruber’s office computer a year prior.
Gruber did not offer an explanation for his dropping of his suit, and his attorney could not be reached for comment.
In a statement released last Thursday, Archabbot Douglas Nowicki said that “The dismissal comes not as a result of any concession or payment but rather because, at a deposition taken recently under oath, Father Gruber finally had to confront his egregious misconduct.”
Sources close to Gruber counter that he dropped the lawsuit in order to protect a former student who has admitted to police that he had access to the computer and that he downloaded the images in question.
Dr. Ken Minarik, a close friend of Gruber, told the Pittsburgh Tribune Review that Gruber was “shocked at how low [the school] would go to protect themselves. Father Gruber will protect that man at any cost.”
In order to expedite legal proceedings, courts hold depositions in order to gather sworn testimonies that can then be used in the actual trial. Because depositions are sealed until trial, Gruber’s deposition would not have become part of public record until the case went to trial. Because the case was never brought to trial, the deposition will remain sealed, as there will be no trial due to the dropped charges. Only court officials, Gruber and his counsel, and the various parties’ lawyers were present at the closed deposition, which lasted nine hours.
“We asked Mark Gruber questions relevant to the allegations set forth in his complaint, and he gave us truthful answers,” said Eric Anderson, counsel for the Diocese of Greensburg. “I don’t know what motivated him to drop his lawsuit. It wouldn’t be appropriate for me to speculate on why he dropped the lawsuit. It’s up to him and his counsel.”
Anderson declined commenting on the content of the deposition, or if Gruber affirmed or denied the charges against him of viewing youth-oriented pornography while under oath. He did add, however, on behalf of the Diocese, “We’re very pleased that the lawsuit was dropped.”
Thomas McGough, counsel for SVC, and Timothy Ryan, counsel for the monestary, declined further comment beyond the archabbot’s public statement.
Gruber’s attorney Sharon Smith could not be reached for comment.