Priest was accused of serving alcohol to minors

Updated: August 27, 2003, 8:46 PM ET
Associated Press

PITTSBURGH -- A Roman Catholic priest was charged Wednesday with involuntary manslaughter in the death of a drunken Pitt football player who fell through a church ceiling after a cookout at which the priest was accused of serving alcohol to underage drinkers.

The Rev. Henry Krawczyk resigned last month as pastor of St. Maximilian Kolbe parish in suburban Homestead. Billy Gaines, a 19-year-old sophomore, died about 20 hours after falling June 18 at St. Anne Church, which is part of Krawczyk's parish.

Krawczyk was charged with six counts of furnishing alcohol to minors, one count of reckless endangerment and one count of involuntary manslaughter.

Authorities say Gaines' teammate, David Abdul, was exploring a crawl space in the church ceiling with Gaines, who fell through and smacked his head on a church pew. The crawl space was about 30 feet above the church sanctuary.

Church officials in Pittsburgh have refused to say where Krawczyk is staying. His attorney, David Cercone, did not immediately return a call for comment Tuesday.

Gaines, a wide receiver and kick returner from Ijamsville, Md., and Abdul were staying temporarily at St. Anne Church because a fire destroyed their apartment.

Police investigated why the players were served alcohol despite being under 21. An autopsy showed Gaines' blood-alcohol content was 0.16 percent, higher than the state's legal limit of 0.1 percent for adult drivers.

Allegheny County police superintendent Ken Fulton said none of the players would be charged. Pitt football coach Walt Harris and spokesman E.J. Borghetti declined comment when asked if any of the other players face discipline or have been disciplined.


Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press