Drank girls’ blood; admitted boy rapist freed — Abuse by NJ priests
Among the 300 Catholic priests in Pennsylvania accused of molesting more than 1,000 children are several with connections to New Jersey parishes and communities.
One New Jersey priest was accused of collecting young girls' urine and menstrual blood and drinking it.
Among the Pennsylvania priests named in the report, one raped a 7-year-old girl while he was visiting her in the hospital. Another priest used holy water to rinse out a boy's mouth after orally raping him. One boy drank juice at his priest's house and woke up the next morning bleeding from his rectum.
The allegations investigated by the grand jury date as far back to the 1940s. The details were released Tuesday in a damning Pennsylvania grand jury report, which said the "real number" of victims and perpetrators is likely higher because of missing records and frightened victims who never came forward.
In addition to the cover-ups that church officials perpetrated again and again — allowing numerous child predators to continue to prey on unsuspecting children and families — are shocking revelations about police investigations and prosecutions that allowed admitted pedophile priests to go free.
Among the priests with New Jersey connections was the Rev. John P. Connor, who was arrested in 1984 and admitted to molesting a 14-year-old child.
The grand jury report says the Cape May County Prosecutor's Office allowed Connor to admit to the molestation and let him go with not even a record of his arrest if he remained out of trouble for a year. The office did not immediately return an emailed request for comment Wednesday afternoon.
The grand jury heard from victims who are now well into adulthood but whose wounds of abuse remain as painful as ever.
One of the New Jersey victims — one of the sisters who Father Augustine Giella preyed upon to feed his urine and blood fetish — suffered a panic attack before her testimony and attempted to commit suicide after shortly after providing her testimony.
"Even though she had almost lost her own life, the victim's primary concern was a fear that in the intervening months since her testimony, the Grand Jury's investigation may have stopped and that the truth would never be told to the public," the grand jury said in its report. "She was assured it was still an active investigation."
The full details for the four priests with Jersey ties is reprinted below. In addition to the four priests, others from Pennsylvania are accused of victimizing youngsters on trips to the Jersey Shore.
The full 900-page report is available here.
Although U.S. bishops adopted reforms in 2002 to require stricter reporting requirements when clergy are accused of sexual abuse, the grand jury report said that "it is too early to close the book on the Catholic Church sex scandal."
In many of the cases detailed in the report, statute of limitations had run out and more than 100 priest died before facing justice. Only two people have been charged as a result of the grand jury investigation.
The grand jury heard from dozens of witnesses and reviewed more than a half-million pages of internal diocesan documents, including reports by bishops to Vatican officials disclosing the details of abusive priests that they had not made public or reported to law enforcement.
Diocese leaders responded Tuesday by expressing sorrow for the victims, stressing how they've changed and unveiling, for the first time, a list of priests accused of sexual misconduct.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Father Augustine Giella
New Jersey appointments
June 1950 to June 1969 — Holy Trinity Church, Hackensack
June 1969 to June 1970 — Our Lady of Sorrows, Jersey City
June 1970 to March 1976 — Church of the Epiphany, Cliffside Park
March 1976 to February 1980 — St. Catherine’s, Glen Rock
The following is reprinted from the report.
Father Augustine Giella was ordained in the Archdiocese of Newark, New Jersey on June 3, 1950. After twenty-nine years of ministry in New Jersey, Giella suddenly decided to seek ministry elsewhere. In November 1979, Giella wrote Bishop Joseph Daley of the Diocese of Harrisburg to request an assignment. On December 7, 1979, Archbishop Peter Gerety of the Archdiocese of Newark wrote a letter to confirm that Giella was a priest in good standing and stated that Giella "has always shown himself to be [an] excellent priest giving himself only for the greater honor and glory of God and the people of the Catholic Church." Gerety gave Giella full permission to seek service outside of the Archdiocese.
Though Giella was still an incardinated priest of the Diocese of Newark, an agreement to serve in another diocese was permissible with the concession of his home Bishop and the approval of the Bishop of the receiving diocese. During the interview process with the Diocese of Harrisburg, Giella told Father William H. Keeler that he sought to have his own parish, which was unlikely to occur in the Archdiocese of Newark due to an abundance of priests. Keeler conducted the interview because he was acting in his capacity as Auxiliary Bishop. This interview was recorded in a memorandum prepared by Keeler and sent to Bishop Daley and Monsignor Hugh Overbaugh. The Diocese of Harrisburg accepted Giella and assigned him to St. Joseph's in Hanover, York County, in 1980.
Thereafter, Giella was assigned to St. John the Evangelist Church in Enhaut, Swatara Township, Dauphin County, in 1982. In 1983, Bishop Daley died and Keeler was appointed Bishop of the Diocese of Harrisburg.
Giella began sexually abusing the girls almost immediately upon his appointment to the parish.
At St. John the Evangelist Church, Giella met a family who warmly embraced him as their parish priest. The family included eight girls and one boy. Giella began sexually abusing the girls almost immediately upon his appointment to the parish. Giella sexually abused five of the eight girls. Giella also abused other relatives of the family His conduct included a wide array of crimes cognizable as misdemeanors or felonies under Pennsylvania law.
In August 2016, the sisters that Giella abused testified before the Grand Jury to the criminal sexual acts Giella perpetrated upon them. The Grand Jury learned that Giella regularly collected samples of the girls' urine, pubic hair, and menstrual blood. Giella utilized a device he would apply to the toilet to collect some of these samples. Giella would ingest some of the samples he collected. The abuse occurred in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, where Giella invited the family for visits.
Giella' s abuse had a lasting effect on the sisters. The sisters testified to the challenges they have faced in overcoming Giella' s sexual abuse. The emotional, psychological, and interpersonal damage to the sisters is incalculable. Most of the sisters refrained from sharing any details of their own abuse with their siblings for fear of what they might learn. The Grand Jury learned that Giella' s tragic abuse of these girls could have been stopped much earlier if the Diocese of Harrisburg had acted on a complaint in the 1980's.
In approximately April 1987, a teacher at Bishop McDevitt High School received a complaint that Giella was insisting on watching a girl as she used the bathroom. The girl stated that Giella insisted on watching her go to the bathroom and that he did "wrong things" with children. The teacher reported the complaint to Father Joseph Coyne, who in turn made an immediate report to the Diocese.
This former teacher testified before the Grand Jury on January 24, 2017. The former teacher's testimony is corroborated by an internal memorandum from the secret archives of the Diocese of Harrisburg. In that memorandum, dated April 14, 1987, Overbaugh recorded the complaint, as well as an allegation that Giella engaged in similar conduct with one of the above mentioned sisters. The witness, the reporting victim, and the family of the sisters are all recorded and identified by name. Overbaugh wrote:
(REDACTED), a teacher for the Intermediate Unit, was informed by one of her students, (REDACTED), that while she was a student last year at Bishop Neumann School in Steelton, she was in Saint John's rectory, Enhaut, and expressed to Father Giella, the pastor, her need to go to the restroom. Father Giella is reported to have said that he would like to go with her and watch, that he does this whenever the (REDACTED) girl goes to the restroom.
Overbaugh noted at least one other complaint by a girl who reported to her teacher that Giella had "acted improperly towards her." Overbaugh concluded his memo, "Father Coyne was instructed to do nothing in the case until the matter had been discussed with diocesan legal counsel.
Giella voluntarily retired in 1988. However, in the approximately five years that followed ... Giella continued to sexually abuse the girls.
This complaint was consistent with the type of deviant interests Giella pursued with the sisters he victimized. The Grand Jury uncovered another document related to this report in the secret or confidential archives of the Diocese of Harrisburg. An undated document addressed to Keeler regarding "Report on Gus Giella" noted: "I spoke with Father Coyne on the pastoral concerns: A.) Approaching Fr. Giella B.) welfare of the student C.) satisfying the ire of the teacher. I said we would consult you on these matters."
In spite of the detailed memorandum and this note, Giella remained in ministry and neither Keeler nor the Diocese attempted to remove Giella from ministry. Giella voluntarily retired in 1988. However, in the approximately five years that followed the Overbaugh memorandum, Giella continued to sexually abuse the girls identified in the Overbaugh memorandum, which included a reference to the family of girls.
Keeler left the Diocese in 1989 to become Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Baltimore. Nicholas C. Dattilo became Bishop of the Diocese in 1990. Giella continued to steal the innocence of children. In 1992, one of the victims came forward and disclosed what Giella had been doing. The family initially reported the conduct to the Diocese. Father Paul Helwig wrote a memorandum to Dattilo dated July 18, 1992, regarding the complaint against Giella. Helwig documented the information he received from the reporting victim's family at various meetings in attached supplemental memoranda. The documents detailed the events leading up to the 12 -year -old girl's disclosure, and described the event believed to have finally triggered the girl to disclose her abuse, the discovery of nude or partially nude photos of the girl in Giella's residence.
Helwig wrote that he interviewed Giella on July 30, 1992. Among other admissions, Giella stated that he began having contact with the girl in the bath and that "as time went on they became more comfortable with each other the embraces became more intense and involved some fondling on his part." Giella also confessed that he took pictures of the girl. The July 1992 Helwig memoranda are set forth below.
New Jersey police confiscated ... plastic containers containing pubic hairs identified by initials; twelve vials of urine; ... numerous photographs of girls in sexually explicit positions ...
The family also reported Giella' s abuse to police in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Police in Pennsylvania contacted the Office of the Prosecutor in New Jersey and law enforcement began an investigation. Upon serving a search warrant at Giella's residence in New Jersey, New Jersey police confiscated the following: young girl's panties; plastic containers containing pubic hairs identified by initials; twelve vials of urine; soiled panties; sex books; feminine sanitary products (used); numerous photographs of girls in sexually explicit positions; and some photos depicting children in the act of urination. Giella was arrested in August 1992.
Diocesan records do not indicate if Overbaugh, Helwig, Dattilo, or any Diocesan personnel ever reported the prior complaints against Giella or his confession to the police. The victims told the Grand Jury that this information was never relayed to them.
Giella admitted his actions to the police. According to the police report, after Giella was charged and arrested for child pornography and sexual abuse, numerous calls were received from women reporting that Giella fondled and abused them in Hackensack, New Jersey. These women stated they had been afraid to come forward given Giella' s position in the church. Additionally, the reporting victim's sisters began to disclose Giella' s sexual abuse of them.
Having learned that her child had been sexually abused by a priest, the mother of the family of child victims confronted Overbaugh. The family considered Overbaugh a friend and highly respected his role in the church. At the time of the confrontation, the family did not know that Giella' s conduct had ever been reported to Overbaugh or the Diocese. However, further evidence of Diocesan officials' knowledge of the danger Giella posed to children was demonstrated to the Grand Jury when the victim's mother described the confrontation. Overbaugh stated, "I wondered why you were letting them go to the rectory." The victims' mother stated that she later received a phone call from Helwig. Helwig stated, "You can relax. Father said that (REDACTED) just took his intentions towards her wrong," and "that he loved her, and he would never hurt her."
Lost in this characterization is the reality that child sexual abuse is not affection or care, but the criminal violation of innocent children.
This account bears some semblance to Helwig' s July 1993 memorandum, where he wrote, "Father is very remorseful that his affection for (REDACTED) has affected her in this way and that he would be willing to help in any way that he can. He expects that the family will be 'sore' with him and readily agreed to refrain from contacting the family." Lost in this characterization is the reality that child sexual abuse is not affection or care, but the criminal violation of innocent children.
On October 12, 1992, an attorney for the family engaged the Diocese of Harrisburg in civil litigation via a letter of notice sent to the Diocese. Prior to reaching settlement terms, aggressive litigation resulted in the release of the victims' psychological and academic records to Diocesan lawyers, the exchange of offers and counter-offers, the execution of confidentiality agreements, and prevention of a Harrisburg newspaper from obtaining information about the case. Letters between attorneys for the family and the Diocese haggled over whether the victim actually had a diagnosed condition as a result of the abuse. Diocesan lawyers argued that the Diocese was not responsible for the conduct of its agents. On October 27, 1992, Dattilo wrote the family, and stated in part, "I share your shock, anger and hurt, and pledge full cooperation by the diocese in this unfortunate situation." However, while Dattilo promised full cooperation, the diocesan lawyers continued to litigate and attempted to negotiate the family down from their approximately $900,000 demand to $225,000. The Grand Jury notes this is a familiar pattern.
In October 2017, Chancellor Carol Houghton testified before the Grand Jury. Houghton was the long-time Chancellor for the Diocese; Dattilo appointed her to that position. As Chancellor and a canon lawyer, Houghton maintained many Diocesan records. Houghton is not a member of the clergy. Houghton had been tasked with a file review and was extremely knowledgeable as she maintained notes of her work. Houghton was shown the 1987 Overbaugh memorandum and questioned regarding the Diocese of Harrisburg's failure to inform the family or law enforcement of its contents. Houghton testified she had never seen the 1987 Overbaugh memorandum
concerning Giella. She had no prior knowledge that the Diocese of Harrisburg had warnings about Giella' s behavior in 1987. Houghton did not have access to the secret archives; only the Bishop had access pursuant to the Canon Law of the Church. The Grand Jury observed this in numerous flawed Diocesan investigations across Pennsylvania. The Dioceses' focus on secrecy often left even the Dioceses' own investigators in the dark.
He died while awaiting trial.
Ultimately, Giella never faced a jury concerning his alleged criminal conduct. He died while awaiting trial. His criminal actions, and the criminal inaction of Keeler, resulted in continued victimization and trauma for the family of girls described earlier. The trauma was so fresh that the youngest sister, the one who finally reported Giella' s criminal conduct, suffered a panic attack while in the Grand Jury suite after seeing an older gentlemen who bore some resemblance to Giella.
In explaining why she came forward, she testified:
Because it doesn't have to happen to anybody. They don't have to live a life like I have to. I continually have to battle. The man out there is a very nice man. He is old like Giella and I can't -- it makes me -- it makes me think about what happened and he is nice and he doesn't deserve me to think that. But I can't -- I can't walk through there and see him because it makes me feel uncomfortable. I don't -- I don't know. I believe in God. I don't go to church. My son is the only reason I'm alive. Thank God I had him because, if I didn't have him – I probably would have killed myself a long time ago.
This survivor of sexual assault attempted to take her own life in the months after her testimony before the Grand Jury. In recovery, she requested to speak with the attorney for the Commonwealth and special agent involved in this investigation. Even though she had almost lost her own life, the victim's primary concern was a fear that in the intervening months since her testimony, the Grand Jury's investigation may have stopped and that the truth would never be told to the public. She was assured it was still an active investigation.
Rev. A. Gregory Uhrig
New Jersey appointments
December 1985 to June 1986 — Assistant, St. Francis Cathedral, Metuchen
July 1993 to January 1995 – Assigned to ministry in New Jersey
January 1995 — Incardinated into Diocese of Metuchen
The following is reprinted from the report.
The Diocese of Allentown became aware of Father A. Gregory Uhrig's sexual abuse of children by 2010. On May 5, 2010, a 44-year-old female victim made a complaint to the Diocese of sexual abuse at the hands of Uhrig when she was 13-years-old and attended the seventh grade at St. Anthony school in Easton. Uhrig was assigned to St. Anthony at that time. The victim's parents encouraged her involvement in the parish and were comfortable with her taking a job answering parish telephones. While working afternoons in the rectory, the victim came to know Uhrig. Also, the victim's parents would routinely invite priests to their home for dinner.
The victim would touch Uhrig's leg and lap area over his clothing with her hands, taking notice that his penis would be erect.
Through working at the parish and frequenting family dinners, Uhrig became a close family friend. Uhrig began to groom the victim by showing her attention and complimenting her. She suffered from low self-esteem and expressed that to Uhrig. Uhrig's compliments built trust between them. Eventually, Uhrig initiated physical contact such as hugging, holding hands, and kissing the victim on the lips. Uhrig eventually progressed to groping the victim's breasts over her clothing. The victim would touch Uhrig's leg and lap area over his clothing with her hands, taking notice that his penis would be erect.
The victim reported that these types of interactions occurred approximately twice a week for about four years. The incidents took place at the rectory and in Uhrig's vehicle. The victim was often in Uhrig's vehicle as he would drive her home from working in the rectory or when she would accompany him on "family visits."
When the victim reached her sophomore year, she realized her relationship with Uhrig was wrong and began to avoid Uhrig. One month prior to her formal complaint, the victim contacted Father Anthony Mongillo. Mongillo had been a long-time family friend. Mongillo, who was a friend of Uhrig, offered no advice or instruction on how she should deal with her abuse.
Due to her victimization, she had suffered three failed marriages.
The victim described the impact of the abuse in detail. Due to her victimization, she had suffered three failed marriages. The victim was able to disclose the abuse to her mother, who was shocked and upset at the disclosure. However, the victim remained unable to tell her father of the abuse.
In 1995, Uhrig left the Diocese and was incardinated to the Diocese of Metuchen in New Jersey. Following a report to that Diocese, he was placed on leave. The Diocese appears to have reported the complaint to local law enforcement upon receipt of the complaint. However, no prosecution was initiated because the statute of limitations had expired.
Rev. John P. Connor
New Jersey appointments
April 1962 – Assistant, St. Francis of Assisi, Vinland
January 1966 – Assistant, St. Mary, Gloucester
June 1966 – Assistant in residence, St. Rose of Lima, Haddon Heights
June 1966 – Faculty, Paul VI High School, Haddon
1970 to 1985 – Chairman, Bishop Eustace Prepatory, Pennsauken
The following is reprinted from the report.
Records obtained by subpoena from the Diocese of Pittsburgh, show that in October of 1984, Father John P. Connor was arrested in New Jersey for sexually molesting a 14-year-old child. The sexual abuse for which Connor was apprehended took place in Connor' s home in the Diocese of Camden during the time he was a theology teacher and golf coach at Bishop Eustace Preparatory School in Pennsauken.
According to the 2005 Philadelphia Grand Jury Report, Connor never went to trial on the charges because lawyers for the Diocese of Camden negotiated a pretrial intervention with the Cape May Prosecutor's Office. The terms of the agreement were that if Connor would admit to sexually molesting the 14 -year -old child, he would have the record of his arrest erased, as long as he were not re-arrested within one year.
In Connor' s Diocesan file, a letter dated March 29, 1985 from the Office of the Prosecutor, County of Cape May to Connor' s attorney stated: “[W]e have placed explicit reliance on the internal discipline of the institutional church in assuring that Father Connor takes all the steps reasonably necessary to live up to the letter and the spirit of the Participations Agreement-even after the period of court supervision expires.”
They specifically warned against giving Connor responsibility for adolescents.
The subpoenaed Diocesan files contained several memoranda and letters from the Southdown Institute outside of Toronto, Canada where Connor spent approximately eight months in treatment after his arrest. The documents from Southdown indicated an assessment that because of Connor's problem with alcohol: "He acts out sexually with some preference to late adolescent males." They specifically warned against giving Connor responsibility for adolescents.
In a September 3, 1985 memorandum to Bishop George Guilfoyle of Camden from the Executive Director of Southdown specifically cautioned that "because of the incident for which he was apprehended, we would not recommend any ministry that would directly put him in a positions of responsibility for adolescents such as a teaching situation."
In a letter dated September 11, 1985, Guilfoyle, wrote to Bishop Anthony Bevilacqua, the Bishop of Pittsburgh asking if Bevilacqua would consider accepting Connor. Guilfoyle later acknowledged in a letter dated September 12, 1985 that he could not keep Connor in Camden stating; "If it were not for the matter of scandal, I would be willing to keep him here."
In a memorandum dated September 11, 1985 to Bevilacqua, Father Nicholas Dattilo expressed several concerns about the request from Guilfoyle. Dattilo specifically pointed out that: "If the problem is homosexuality or pedophilia we could be accepting a difficulty with which we have had no post -therapeutic experience." He also stated in this memorandum: “If after you have talked with Bishop Guilfoyle you believe there is no serious risk in accepting Father Connor, we will do everything we can to keep the tradition of bishops helping bishops intact.”
It should be noted that there is a hand-written note at the bottom of the memo which reads: "I cannot guarantee that there is no serious risk." It is initialed "AJB" (Anthony Joseph Bevilacqua) and dated September 17, 1985.
There was no warning to the parishioners of the church that he was an admitted child molester.
Despite this acknowledgement, and after receiving reports from Southdown. Bevilacqua agreed to give Connor an assignment in the Diocese. According to the 2005 Philadelphia Grand Jury Report, an additional memorandum dated September 11, 1985 from Dattilo documented his concern about bringing Connor to the Diocese which stressed the "serious consequences of recurrence" given "the nature of the incident for which he was apprehended." Bevilacqua initialed this memorandum and added a note stating; "He must also be told that his pastor/supervisor will be informed confidentially of his situation." There is no documentation regarding this September 1985 memorandum in the file that was provided by the Diocese.
In a letter to Connor dated October 9, 1985, Bevilacqua appointed him as Chaplin to the Catholic patients at Sewickley Valley Hospital and assigned him to reside at St. James. However, less than a year later, in a letter dated September 5, 1986, Bevilacqua informed Connor that he had appointed another priest as Chaplain at Sewickley Valley Hospital, and reassigned Connor to St. Alphonsus in Wexford. Connor's new assignment gave him an unrestricted ministry. There was no warning to the parishioners of the church that he was an admitted child molester.
According to Philadelphia Grand Jury Report, after Bevilacqua left Pittsburgh to become the Archbishop of Philadelphia, Dattilo revoked Connor's assignment citing "legal complications" and suggested Connor apply to the Philadelphia Diocese since Bevilacqua had been willing to accept Connor before. In a memorandum to Connor dated September 7, 1988, Bevilacqua appointed him as assistant pastor of St. Matthew in Conshohocken, a parish with a grade school. Bevilacqua encouraged Connor, among other things, to "educate youth." Once again Connor was given an unrestricted ministry and there was no warning to the parishioners of the church that Connor was an admitted child molester.
According to the Philadelphia Grand Jury Report, Bevilacqua told the Grand Jury that he recalled Connor calling him directly to request the new assignment in Conshohocken. He stated that while he asked Monsignor Samuel Shoemaker to handle the appointment, he did nor recall whether he had told Shoemaker about Connor' s history. An excerpt from the 2005 Grand Jury Report reads as follow:
Bevilacqua and the Philadelphia Archdiocese accepted this dangerous priest readily but did nothing to ensure the propriety of his future conduct. Father James W. Donlon, the pastor of St. Matthew Church since March 1989, testified to the Grand Jury that Cardinal Bevilacqua never told him about Father Connor's arrest or that he had been treated at Southdown for abusing alcohol and a 14 -year old boy. The Archbishop met with Father Donlon for a half hour in February 1989 to familiarize Father Donlon with his new parish. Rather than share information that might have aided the pastor in protecting the children of St. Matthew, Archbishop Bevilacqua chose to say that Father Connor was brought from Pittsburgh to be closer to his family. Moreover, Father Donlon was given no guidance as to what activities Father Connor should or should not participate in, even though the Southdown report that Cardinal Bevilacqua had received explicitly recommended that Father Connor not be put in a position of responsibility for adolescents. Since Father Donlon received no warning from the Archbishop, he allowed Father Connor full access to the youth of the parish. The pastor did not know to be concerned about an especially close relationship that was developing between Father Connor and a young boy from the parish grade school, named "Timothy."
The Grand Jury further heard that Archbishop Bevilacqua also neglected to tell that pastor that Father Connor had a history of alcohol abuse and that Southdown had warned that excessive use of alcohol could increase the risk that the priest would act out sexually with adolescents. Thus, when Father Connor continued to drink, Father Donlon did not know to be especially concerned.
There was still no attempt to notify Timothy's mother that Connor was an admitted child molester.
Donlon also told the Grand Jury that it was not until a newspaper reporter called him in 2002 that he became aware of Connor' s arrest for the sexual abuse of a minor. Donlon explained to the Grand Jury that he "would have been more careful about everything" meaning Connor' s activities and his association with the school. The Grand Jury report went on to say that "Timothy," the child from St. Matthew in Conshohocken to whom Connor was paying a great deal of attention, had been located and was now 24 years old. Although Timothy did not openly admit to the sexual abuse, he claimed that from third grade until the beginning of high school Connor took him, once a week, to the movies, dinner, bowling and golfing and that Connor bought him golf clubs and a bike.
In 1993, Connor was suddenly moved back to Camden because his 1984 victim of sexual abuse had sued and received a settlement from the Diocese of Camden.
In 1994, it was reported that Connor (who was assigned to a church in New Jersey) was still continuing to visit "Timothy" in Conshohocken weekly to take him on trips and give him gifts. Monsignor Lynn called Camden Chancellor and the Archdiocese attorney to notify them of Connor' s "imprudent" behavior, but according to the Grand Jury Report, there was still no attempt to notify Timothy's mother that Connor was an admitted child molester.
In 1995, Father John Kelly, the parochial vicar at St. Matthew reported that Connor was back in the parish and still in "Timothy's" life. The 2005 Grand Jury report quoted Lynn as saying: "I told Father Kelly that all I could do was inform the Camden Diocese, as I did before, that Connor was back in the picture with this young boy here in Conshohocken."
Included in the file for Connor that was provided by the Diocese, is a letter to Father Ronald P. Lengwin, from Father Peter Murphy, pastor of St. Alphonsus. Murphy's letter stated that on October 27, 2008 a man called the rectory. The caller apparently wanted the current priest to apologize to the whole church during the homily for assigning Connor to the church and about the terrible things Connor did. When the man was asked if he had been abused by Connor, he said he had. Murphy told the man to call the Diocese of Pittsburgh to make the accusation.
In a memorandum dated November 5, 2008 to Diocesan Assistance Coordinator Rita Flaherty, Lengwin stated that he spoke to the Allegheny County District Attorney's Office on October 27, 2008 about an allegation of sexual abuse made against Connor. There was concern that a threat was being made against the church and was asking for help on how to deal with it.
The male, then 40 years old, claimed that Connor ruined his life and that Connor stole his innocence.
More recently, in the files obtained from the Diocese, there is a letter to Bishop David Zubik dated December 18, 2014 from an attorney who represented a victim who claimed that he was repeatedly sexually molested by Connor from approximately 1986 to 1988 when he was 12 to 14 years of age. During that time, Connor was assigned to St. Alphonsus. The male, then 40 years old, claimed that Connor ruined his life and that Connor stole his innocence. The letter stated that the victim suffered from trust issues, low self-esteem, suicidal ideation, alcohol abuse, estrangement from the Catholic Church, guilt, shame, embarrassment, etc. As a result of his suffering, the victim demanded a settlement for $1 million.
In a "Confidential Memorandum" to the Diocese file dated January 21, 2015, Flaherty stated that she and Father Mark Eckman phoned Father Terry Odien, the current Vicar for Clergy in the Diocese of Camden, to alert him of the allegations they had received. Odien advised that Connor was out of active ministry and living in a retirement facility for priests. They also called the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and spoke to Monsignor Daniel Sullivan to inform him of the recent allegations. Flaherty stated, "we had little information about him [the victim] and that we have had no contact with the alleged victim."
The subpoenaed Diocesan files contain little to no information on the victim's status or whether he was offered counseling. The Grand Jury investigation found little to no documentation that the Dioceses of Pittsburgh, Philadelphia or Camden notified local law enforcement or the District Attorney's office about Connor's sexual abuse.
The male, then 40 years old, claimed that Connor ruined his life and that Connor stole his innocence.
Rev. James Hopkins
The following is reprinted from the report.
In November 2012, the Diocese of Pittsburgh received an e-mail communication from an adult male about Father James Hopkins. He stated that several decades earlier, Hopkins performed a "medical exam" on him when he was freshman at St. Fidelis Seminary High School.
The exam involved the young man bending over naked in front of Hopkins and listening to Hopkins make creepy comments about his behind. There was no indication in the records that the Diocese conducted an investigation or attempted to contact the male about counseling.
That same month, the Diocese sent a letter to the Butler County District Attorney's Office, advising of the allegation. The letter stated that Hopkins was transferred to the Diocese of Camden, New Jersey in 1973.
In 1995, he pled guilty to sexually molesting an altar boy in Camden County. He received a ten year prison sentence and was ordered to register as a sex offender.
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