In case you are one of the people who believe that the worst of the sex scandal in the Catholic Church is over, I have more bad news. Another priest in the Diocese of Scranton has been reported, this time for child pornography.
According to news reports, and this is a story that is just breaking this evening, Father Robert Timchak was in court in Milford to begin answering charges for possession of child pornography and tampering with evidence. According to news channels in Scranton, the investigation has been ongoing since December 2008 when someone tipped off the Diocese of Scranton that he had child pornography on his computer.
According to Channel 16 in Scranton, Timchak has served as pastor at several Catholic churches in the area, including the Transfigurations Church in West Hazelton, Saints Peter and Paul in Hazelton and most recently Saint John Neumann in Lords Valley
On the St John Neumann website this evening is a note to parishioners that reads:
Due to the recent problems in the Catholic Church,The Church has provided information for any individual that may have questions about the Bishop’s decision in Dallas. Please go to the following web site of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops www.usccb.org.
You will note that the Diocese has not put any information that tells you that your priest has child pornography on his computer nor does it tell you to contact the Pennsylvania State Police if you have information that would benefit law enforcement or the Pike County District Attorney. There is nothing on the website for the combined Transfigurations Church and Saints Peter and Paul in the Hazelton area. No need to let too many people know that a potential predator was in their midst. That is the way the Diocese of Scranton rolls!
I have to ask the obvious question here, why did it take the Pennsylvania State Police 11 months to check this guy’s computer and arrest him? Why did the Diocese of Scranton leave this “priest” in the parish since December 2008? I would love to ask if the Diocese of Scranton went into the community looking for possible victims. I wonder how many families in the parish where close to Father Timchak? Of those families, how many had young boys that were left alone with Father Timchak? Are any of the photos on the computer children of the parishes to which he was assigned?
Once again the Diocese showed the blinding speed with which it deals with potential child molesters wearing Roman Collars. I imagine it took Bill Genello that long to practice the line “the Diocese has no comment” in front of the mirror in the bathroom. It was, no doubt, Bill Genello that put the brilliant and totally useless line on the church website. In case you are reading this Bill, I did a screen grab to document your referral to an organization that your most recent Bishop, Joseph Martino claimed did not have any authority in his diocese.
I am very familiar with this area. I served mass at Good Shepherd. I lived in Hemlock Farms from 7th grade through my graduation from high school in 1978. I also lived there during the first two summers when I attended the University of Scranton.St John Neumann draws parishioners from that development. I lived in Hemlock Farms during the time frame where I was abused and raped by Father Gibson.
I am sure that there are a lot of parents in Lords Valley, West Hazelton and Hazelton who are having some very difficult conversations with their children tonight. If I may offer advice, please be supportive and don’t overreact if you child starts to tell you about things that make you uncomfortable. If your child has had a noticable change in personality, attitude, school behavior or has been withdrawn, moody or depressed seek help. I strongly recommend you do not go to the Diocese of Scranton. As kind and gentle as Joan Holmes may seem to you, the Diocese will try to collect information and spin this to their advantage. Do not let them control any aspect of this process, they will turn on you.
The Diocese of Scranton has an adversarial record in dealing with victims and their families over the years. Don’t let them re-victimize you, your family or your community. Believe me when I tell you from first hand experience, they will not make you a priority. They will protect the Diocese, the Diocese’s bank account and the priest before they will do anything for victims.