What do I want?

ConfirmationStainedGlass
I bet the stain glass artist wants this one back! (You can’t make this stuff up!)

With the release of the Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report in August 2018, I have seen a resurgence of visits to this site, thousands of visits reading multiple posts. In the analytics, I can see the search terms people are using, mostly the names of predator priests or a specific Pennsylvania Diocese. While I am happy that people are reading to become more aware of  the scope of the problem, I worry that they are not actively engaging in the discussion and, in Pennsylvania, calling their Senators to move legislation forward that will enable all victims of child sex crimes (rape, molestation, abuse…) to seek justice and to allow the true scope of this crisis to come into the light.

To be perfectly honest with you, I did not expect all of this to come back at me as forcefully as it has. For as much as I have talked on this subject over the last ten years in my blog and to reporters for various publications and media outlets, I was not expecting this amount anger, embarrassment, guilt, and grief to well up in me the way it has in the last two months. It just doesn’t end.  My partner (should I really be calling her my “girlfriend” in my middle 50’s?), eloquently refers to all of this as “the scab being ripped off the wound”. I have had a lot of sleepless nights and discussions that have caused me to physically shake since the report was released. When I do sleep, the nightmares come back.  It has been easier for me to address the Catholic Child Sex Crime Crisis as a broader subject than to discuss the specifics of my personal experience.  Even now, 44 years removed from that horrible nine-month period of my life at age 13, talking about Gibson has a visceral effect on me.  All these years later I still have to ask,  why did he choose me?  What did I do?

I know that I am one of the lucky ones.  I am not a complete mess (only partial), I am alive, I have a job, I have a support group, my partner has my back (she always thought Gibson was creepy).  My high school classmates are horrified at what happened to me and others they knew.  I am not an alcoholic (I probably should be, but I won’t drink out of a bottle I have not opened myself or watched being opened because of Gibson), I am not an addict. I have battled depression for years. And, for the most part, I have been able to function in society.  I can count the number of people I truly trust on 2 hands with fingers to spare.

Keeping the secret for as long as I did was the cause of a lot of damage.  That secret sabotaged relationships with my parents, siblings, my former wife, children, and friends.  It profoundly changed the trajectory of my life and left me doubting every decision and action (personal and professional).  Gibson’s voice is the voice of doubt, dissension,  and depreciation in my head to this day.  I cannot shake him off.

In the wake of the Grand Jury Report,  the emails and phone conversations all seem to come down to one question: What do I want out of all of this? To date, this is what I have come up with: (In no particular order, I am spit-balling here)

  • Bishop Joseph Bambera needs to resign with immediate effect.  As Vicar of Priests in the 1990’s under Bishop James Timlin, Joseph Bambera returned “Father Ned” (Robert J. Gibson) to a rectory in the Diocese.  Bambera let a known pedophile back into the world where he was caught grooming a child again.  It is a quintessentially American concept that those who have the ability to change things, to protect the vulnerable, also have the responsibility to do so.  In this, Joseph Bambera fails completely, all the while falling back on the excuse that he was following Bishop Timlin’s orders.  As I have said on this blog before,  I have no confidence in Joseph Bambera’s ability to credibly lead the Diocese of Scranton because of his complicity in Robert Gibson’s case and others.
  • I want all Catholic Cardinals and Bishops in the United States to offer their resignation to the Vatican.  The Pope should accept the resignations of any of those prelates who have had any involvement in a sexual crime against a child or vulnerable adult or were involved in covering up such activity or campaigning to defame a victim that has come forward to report rape, molestation or abuse.
  • I want the U.S. Attorneys across the country to investigate and bring charges against the Dioceses that conspired to move predator priests across state lines to “move the problem”.  Personally, I was taken across state lines to New York and Florida by Gibson.  The Diocese knows this.  I think that the Dioceses and the US Council of Catholic Bishops represent a criminal enterprise that could be prosecuted under the RICO Statute (18 U.S. Code, Chapter 96).  Let the Federal search warrants flow!
  • I want the “facilities” that held Predator priests, such as the  Vianney Center in Dittmer Missouri, investigated for their role in hiding these men.  They are complicit in moving them across state lines and may have violated Federal Law.
  • I want the Diocese to turn over all files in the Dioceses’ “Secret Archives” to Civil Authorities for review to determine what the Dioceses actually knew.  I want the truth.  I would love to see Robert Gibson’s (Father Ned) file.   The Diocese only admits to Gibson having six victims.  I have spoken to more than six that could tell me his modus operandi.
  • I want to see the file on me at the Diocese of Scranton.  I am sure that there is a file cabinet in the Victims Assistance Office that contains a folder with my name on it.  Before the shredders start to overheat, I want to know what is in my file.   In the last week, I had someone claiming to be a Diocesan Priest who may have known my family back in the 1970’s asking for information about my parents.  If I were paranoid, I would say this could be an effort by the Diocese to profile me in advance of potential civil action if the window legislation before the Pennsylvania Senate passes and is signed by Governor Wolf.  I would also like the Diocese of Scranton to admit that they use the Victims Assistance office to collect information on victims to allow the Diocese to develop a risk strategy to protect themselves.
  • I want to see all four recommendations proffered by the Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report to be adopted into law. I will not accept the Church’s offer of a Victims Fund.   That is part of a risk strategy to minimize financial liability on the part of the church and does not serve justice.  If they wanted to protect their interest, they should have protected the children and not the predators.  You reap what you sow! (Galatians 6:7)  I do not buy the calls of poverty and threats of bankruptcy.  Those recommendations are:
    • Change the criminal Statute of Limitations for all sexual crimes committed against children
    • Open a civil window for victims
    • Enact criminal penalties for those who fail to report child abuse
    • Restrict the use of Non-Disclosure Agreements
  • I want the people who write to me to tell me that I should be thinking about the priests who are innocent and doing “God’s work” in the community and the negative impact on them as a result of all the publicity to stop.  REALLY?!  Thousands of children and vulnerable adults worldwide over decades, centuries, millennia who have been targeted by priests in the church and you want me to worry about Father ______________ (fill in the blank) and how he is coping with all this?   Why are the “innocent” priests not standing up en masse and calling for the removal of church leaders who are part of the problem?  Why are they not screaming at the top of their lungs calling for reform? Why have they stood by silently when they have had information or suspicions that children were at risk?  Innocent Priests?  SHOW ME!
  • I want to know what the University of Scranton and other Catholic colleges and universities are going to do to foster a discussion on this issue, listening to all points of view on the crisis and leading the way on educating the Church on the history of sexual crimes committed.  I want them to develop a way forward to protect the most vulnerable among us.   If all you are going to do is rename buildings and rescind honorary degrees from the Bishop involved in the cover-up you are only paying lip service to the problem.  I am challenging the President of the University of Scranton, my alma mater, to stand up and be an agent of change.  I am willing to talk to you and represent the victims and survivors.  I am part of the University of Scranton Community  (Once a Royal, always a Royal) and I demand that you take a stand more substantial than renaming dorms in the upper quad.  If you are not willing to do this, let me know where I can return my diploma.
  • Actis formalis defectionis ab Ecclesia catholica.  This is an action item for the Diocese of Scranton. I want out.  I want my name off the rolls.  I want the Diocese of Scranton to coordinate with the Diocese of Brooklyn and make the break with me permanent and official. I am no longer a Catholic, and I want official acknowledgment in a document signed by the Bishop himself.  You should also do this pro bono. (So much Latin!  My Jesuit education is showing again.) I am not going to pay an indulgence for this service.  I have a spot on the wall where my diploma from the University of Scranton currently hangs that may be available soon.
  • I want the parishioners of Catholic Parishes to understand that they are funding the protection of predator priests.  Many of these guys are still on the payroll even if they have been laicized.  Are you happy that you may be paying for a golf membership for a pedophile?  The members of the Catholic Church should stand up and demand both accountability and responsibility from their leadership.

And, more than anything else, I want to be done with this.  I want to put this down and go back to a quiet life. I want to be able to turn out the lights on this blog (I am sure the boys in black on Wyoming Avenue want that as well).  If you think for a moment, dear reader, that I enjoy this, you are out of your mind. This is physically and emotionally exhausting.  I am angry at the lies, I am mad at the way I have been treated both as a 13-year-old and as an adult who reported the crimes committed against me.  I am angry that people still rally behind those who protected pedophiles at the expense of their victims.  I am tired of the lies and the attacks on the character of survivors to advance a false narrative that the Catholic Church is doing everything they can to address the issue.  They are doing everything they can to stick to their risk strategy.

That is my list for now.  I am sure I will come up with more items as I think about all of this.

 

 

 

 

 

Something is not quite right

I inquire as the health and well-being of my perp, Robert J. Gibson, periodically.   I did so last month to the Victim Assistance Coordinator for the Diocese of Scranton.  Admittedly, the email to Joan Holmes was pretty sarcastic. I asked the question “Is the monster still alive?”.   I did edit out the adjective I used initially.

As is the standard operating procedure of the Diocese, Ms. Holmes wrote me a wonderful little email in reply, passing my questions to the new chancellor.  What I felt most disturbing about Ms. Holmes email dated on 7 April during Holy Week (For victims of sexual crimes committed by priest that week of 2012 is known as the first week in April)  was the passage that read:

As for the trial in Philadelphia, it fills me with sadness and compassion for the victims.  At this time during Holy Week, I look at Jesus crucified and I see both priest and victim, so I pray also for the Church He founded.” 

You see the priest crucified?   Really?!  I can see a church official seeing the victim crucified.  That makes perfect sense.  The church seems to be crucifying us on a regular basis either through their lawyers, PR Firms or through the wonderful (check the sarcasm meter) people of the Catholic League.  I guess it is symptomatic of her being sympathetic to the hierarchy of the church that both pays her salary and protects predators in roman collars.  There is really no doubt as to where the “Victim’s Assistance Office’s” loyalty falls.

I need to reiterate to the people out there who were victims of sexual crimes by religious or laity in the Diocese of Scranton, the Victim’s Assistance Coordinator’s office  is not there to help you.  It exists to collect information for the Diocese so that a defensive strategy can be established and the victim of the crime can be marginalized, sidelined or silenced.  This office is not an advocate for the victim.  If you are looking for assistance in Pennsylvania, I would recommend you contact the local police department or district attorney and the Foundation to Abolish Child Sexual Abuse (FACSA).  The Diocese will not offer anything more than lip service to assist you.

The second response to my email came from Ms. Teresa Osborne, the current Chancellor for the Diocese of Scranton.  Her email was the official response for several of my questions.  Let the record show, they are mostly non-answers.

In regard to the question of whether or not “the monster” still draws breath, her answer was ” Robert Gibson is alive and continues to reside in a secure residential facility for priests in the state of Missouri.”  I will have to assume he is in the Catholic Church’s minimum security location for incarcerating predator priest in Dittmer, the St. John Vianney Renewal Center. (and people are worried about Sharia Law? The Catholic Church has been running an underground “jail” network for years!) Funny, last time they were adamant about the fact that he was an old man suffering from dementia in a long-term medical facility in Dittmer, a hospital.  They had previous told me he had been moved out of the Vianney Center.   OOPS!  Someone should have coordinated the response (lies) from the Diocese to make it consistent with earlier reports (lies, half truths) to me.

I am driving west to an event at the end of the month.  Maybe I should swing by Dittmer and pay a visit on Robert Gibson and get a first hand look at what kind of condition he is in. Will he be in a room or on the golf course?   I will just plug the address (6476 Eime Road, Dittmer, MO 63023) and let my Garmin direct me on the most efficient way to get to the “secure residential facility”.  Anyone up for a road trip?

In response to my question about why I was never interviewed, the Chancellor said “From the time your allegation was brought forward, the Diocese of Scranton accepted what you said as true”.  Still, I think it odd that the Diocese did not interview me for purposes of a canonical  proceeding.  It was not odd, I later found out, because they did not refer the case to the Vatican.  The Chancellor goes on to say “… Robert Gibson’s status was recently re-evaluated by the Diocese and a referral of his case to the Vatican was initiated.”   That is about as non-committal as responses come.  Did the Bishop order a an action?  What was the action requested?  When was the action forwarded to the Vatican?  Why have I still not been interviewed?   If her goal was to appease me with her email, she fell short of the mark.

As expected, the Diocese has done essentially nothing.  They will continue to do nothing.   I think I need to program my Garmin GPS unit and start my trek across I-64 heading west towards Dittmer, Missouri.   “Recalculating…”

Only Four, I Think Not…

Four.  That is the number of victims of Father Robert Gibson to which the Diocese of Scranton has stipulated. Four.

I don’t get it.  I cannot believe that the Diocese of Scranton continues to stubbornly stick to that number.  I have corresponded with survivors, family members of survivors, classmates of survivors, as well as friends.  I have spoken to officials at Notre Dame High School.  The number grows a little higher every time I get an indication that someone is looking for Gibson on Google.  Sometimes an email arrives a few days later, sometimes a comment appears.  The number I have is Fourteen.  Of course, I have names to go with the digits.  That is still a very low number.  Given the number of parishes, schools and camps he had access to and the number of years in his predatory prime, this man probably had victims that numbered in the hundreds.  He probably tried to groom or isolate more than that.  This man was prolific in his criminal sexual behavior against minors.  Against children!

Four?  I think not!  And the Diocese of Scranton knows it.  Someone in the diocese has access to his “secret” files.  Someone can go in and get a feel for how many complaints were submitted.  I bet the vast, overwhelming  majority of those were covered up.  Someone knows about the settlements and the confidentiality agreements that had everything to do with protecting the Bishop and the Diocese and nothing to do with protecting children, searching for victims and getting Gibson out of ministry and into the hands of the criminal justice system.  I know of one, the survivor told me himself.

Someone in the Diocese of Scranton has the names of other victims.  The Victim’s Assistance Coordinator gave me a name of another victim along with his contact information. (Not the one I alluded to in the previous paragraph.)

I have responded to emails, phone calls and blog comments from classmates of mine, from classmates of my siblings, from siblings of other potential survivors and from parents of Gibson’s other targets.

The magic number is not FOUR.  The Bishop of Scranton needs to come clean, now.  Not only on Robert Gibson, but on at least TWENTY-FIVE identified Catholic Priests and lay officials of the diocese that have credible allegations of criminal sexual assault on boys, girls and vulnerable adults.  Former Bishops have covered up and moved these monsters around the diocese allowing them access to fresh pools of potential victims.  The Bishops, only concerned with keeping allegations quiet and victims isolated, showed a reckless disregard for the safety and wellbeing of children in the diocese by moving Gibson and other monsters just like him from parish to parish.  And when the heat was too much, they moved Gibson to Missouri.  They put him in a Catholic “safe house”.  He is still there in Missouri, outside of the jurisdiction that could have tried him for the rapes and sexual assaults he committed over his career.

Just as a recap from a post I did in October 2008, Robert Gibson’s history of assignments:

1959-65 Scranton, PA St. Paul, 1510 Penn Ave. Priests: John J. Vaughan(Vicar Forane, Dean), Joseph F. Ryan, Joseph R. Doggett(’59), Francis A. Conlan(’60-62), Robert J. Gibson

School: 7 Sisters of the I.H.M. 1 lay teacher 484 pupils High school: 10 Sisters of the I.H.M. 280 pupils
Mission: St. Clare’s School: Sisters of the I.H.M. 7 Lay teacher 1 2215 Washington Ave. 401 pupils.
1966-67 directory not available (

1968-1970 Stroudsburg, PA St. Matthew’s, 200 Brodhead Ave. Priests: Thomas J. Cawley,Robert J. Gibson, John J. Bendik

St Matthews School: 7 Sisters I.H.M. 2 lay teachers 311 pupils Missions: St. Luke’s, Stroudsburg; St. John’s, Bushkill; St. Mark’s, Delaware Water Gap

1971-1974 Stroudsburg, PA St. Luke’s, 906 Main St. Priests: Francis G. Barrett, Robert J. Gibson In residence: John J. Bendik Mission: St. Mark’s, Delaware Water Gap.

St Matthews School, East Stroudsburg, Notre Dame Junior/Senior High School.

1975-82 Brodheadsville, PA Our Lady Queen of Peace Church Priest: Robert J. Gibson
Mission: Jonas, Holy Family.

School:  Still associated with St. Matthew’s and Notre Dame

1983 Conyngham, PA St. John Bosco Priest: Robert J. Gibson

1984-95 Canadensis, PA St. Bernadette Church Priest: Robert J. Gibson
Mission: Promised Land, Our Lady of Fatima

1996 -1997 Kingston, PA St. Ignatius, 339 N. Maple Ave. Priests: F. Allan Conlan, Glenn E. McGreary, Joseph B. Wilson In res., Robert J. Gibson Chapel—St. Ann’s

1998-2008 Unassigned or leave of absence.  In the case of Fr. Gibson, he was sequestered in the Vianney Renewal Center in Dittmer, Missouri and now is reported to be in a hospital in the Ditmer area.  The report is from the Diocese.  I do not put much stock in the word of the Diocesan spokespeople, they seem to be accomplished liars.

The latest contact was from a family member of a probable victim of Gibson.  He came after me on the timeline.  I can’t help but feel a little responsible. I didn’t stop him.  I didn’t kill him when I had the opportunity. I didn’t turn him in, he had me completely terrorized.  I know intellectually that it was not my fault.  But the voice in my head hasn’t processed that yet.

Postscript: My middle son is one of the most brilliant minds I have ever known (from his mom’s end of the gene pool).  He was counting on his hands as my oldest son’s “love interest” was quizing him on the classic movies he should be familiar with as a modern, well healed male in the 21st century.  He was counting off the movies he had seen from her extensive list in binary (his world seems to spin on a slightly different axis, and that makes him a force of nature).

When he got to 4 I started laughing.  If you are as smart as he, you know what finger “4” is on when counting in Binary.  That knowledge in hand, so to speak, I would like to offer something to the Diocese of Sranton.  I got your “four” right here.

Missouri Reporter Delves into Vianney Renewal Center in Dittmer

When I first reported Father Gibson to the Diocese of Scranton, I was told that he had been removed from ministry and sent to a facility for safekeeping.  While the Diocese should have handed this prolific sexual criminal to civil authorities, they instead sent him into the Catholic Church’s “Pedophile Protection Center” a.k.a. The Vianney Renewal Center in Dittmer Missouri. The facility is run by the Servants of the Paraclete, a Catholic order of priests who specialize in “caring” for troubled priests. While the Jesuit order has been called “God’s Stormtroopers”, it seems that the Servants are “God’s Corrections Officers” or Cruise Directors. I guess it all depends on your point of view.

A reporter for KDSK – 5 in Missouri, Leisa Zigman, has completed a two-part series with a follow-up on the Center.  Long believed to be a haven for hidden priests removed from their parent Diocese, the center is more of a retirement home than a serious rehab center for the most dangerous priests. Review the videos and see for yourself!

Links to the series, with related video reports, are provided for your review:

Club Ped: Missouri’s retreat for pedophile priestsVideo Link

Club Ped — Missouri retreat for pedophile priests (Part 2)Video Link

Vianney Renewal Center responds to I-Team InvestigationVideo Link

For those of you who continue to tithe to the Catholic Church, this is one of the places that the church hides pedophiles who should be in prison.  You are paying for this!

Gerry Howard (aka Carmen Sita) Held on $1.5M Bail In Missouri

Father Carmen Sita
I received an email from a reader with a link to the Boonville Daily News Website. The story was about the arrest of Gerry Howard also known as Carmen Sita. Mr. Howard has a long history of sexual abuse of children while serving as a Catholic Priest. The story of Mr. Howard is especially heinous in that he was moved by the Archdiocese of Newark to a “facility” in New Mexico and then moved to a parish in Missouri after he changed his name. You can read all the details in my original post on this particular low life.

The article by Nate Brit of the Boonville Daily News reads as follows:

Boonville –

An ex-Boonville priest suspected of sexually assaulting three mid-Missouri men in the 1980s has been taken into custody in New Jersey, Cooper County Prosecutor Doug Abele said today.

The suspect, Gerald Howard, was arrested with the help of the Bloomfield Police Department in New Jersey and the Boonville Police Department, Abele said.

A $1.5 million bond has been set, he said.

Howard is expected to be charged with three counts of forcible sodomy, three counts of attempted forcible sodomy and two counts of kidnapping, Abele said. Howard could face 5 years to life in prison if convicted on the sodomy charges.He could face 5 to 15 years if convicted on the kidnapping charges.

Howard once worked as a priest at Ss. Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Boonville.

The prosecutor’s office is not naming the three alleged victims — identified in court documents as John Doe 1, John Doe 2 and John Doe 3 —  to preserve their confidentiality, Abele said. Their names would become public if the case goes to trial and they are asked to testify, he said.

Former Boonville resident Mark McAllister claimed in August that Howard sexually assaulted him repeatedly during the 1980s while he was an attendee of the Boonville parish. He won a $600,000 settlement in connection with those claims in the fall.

McAllister claimed Howard as having worked at Ss. Peter and Paul and as having taken him on trips to places such as New Jersey.

The Cooper County Sheriff’s Department also participated in the investigation, Abele said.

Decisions about which charges to file had to be made based on laws that were in effect at the time the crimes are suspected of having occurred, Abele said. That meant consulting Missouri statutes in effect in 1983, 1984 and 1985, he said.

Judge Robert Koffman on Monday reviewed the grand jury’s recommendations Thursday in Cooper County. Koffman authorized the warrant that has been issued for Howard’s arrest, Abele said.

Capt. Don Smith of the Boonville police said the Sheriff’s Department launched the investigation into Howard in September and later transferred the case to Boonville police.

Bloomfield police took Howard into custody at his apartment today, Smith said. It was their first attempt to make contact with him.

The link also lists other related stories about this monster.

The next thing that needs to happen is the prosecution of those that knowingly moved this predator from New Jersey to Missouri by way of New Mexico. The giving and receiving Diocese should both be held criminally liable for their complicity in hiding this predator.

Related Post: Catholic Pedophile Protection/Relocation Program Story

Related News Stories:

NJ.com – Jersey City ex-priest, guilty in 1982 of sexual assault, charged in Missouri 1980s abuse cases
ABC 17 News – Former Boonville Priest Indicted on Sex Charges
Columbia Missourian – Former Boonville Priest Arrested on Sodomy Charges
Missourinet – Former Boonville Priest Arrested on Child Molestation Charges from the 1980’s
Columbia Daily Tribune – Former Boonville Priest is Arrested

Innocent until proven guilty…

It is already beginning.  The troops are rallying around the disgraced priest.  If you read the online reports of the arraignment of Father Bob Timchak in the various news outlets you will find comments by people weighing in on both sides of this issue.  Parishioners and former students are expressing shock and disbelief.  Some are even rallying around him.  Many are questioning their faith and wondering how a man who has been so outspoken on issues important to his parishioners could fall from grace in this manner.  They lament that he was so involved with children in the respective parishes and schools he has been affiliated with over the years and they can’t reconcile the man and the crime with which he is accused.  And yet this “good, kind man” now stands accused of possessing child pornography and tampering with evidence.   Not very priestly activity when you think about it.

Watching news reports online, I am amazed at both the support for Father Timchak and the lack of concern for victims.  Yes, the kids in those photos are victims.  A state trooper interviewed for one Scranton TV news report lamented that this case will make it more difficult for other priests in the diocese.  Excuse me?  You are worried about the other priests?  Where is the concern for the kids in the photos?  Some of them could be from parishes or schools where this man worked.  At a minimum, these photos need to be reviewed by the organizations that search for lost and exploited children.   They are living (I hope), breathing people who need protection from the filth that exploits them.    Not just the people with the cameras and websites, but from the people who get off on  photos of children.

There has been some outrage in the comment sections of online reports, I added my own comments in some cases.  But I am also seeing commenters and at least one columnist who seem to be rallying to the defense of this man.  I get it, really I do.  Innocent until proven guilty.  But that only goes to a point.  When faced with a lot of evidence, Catholics still tend to go with the disbelief option and explain away the truth in front of them.  The indoctrination of the church manifests itself in support for people who engage in horrible behavior.   Love the sinner not the sin.  Platitudes run amok in cases of clergy sex crimes.

I am a firm believer in the concept of innocent until proven guilty.  Father Bob needs to be presented with the evidence against him and make a decision.   I am sure he has gone to his confessor and received absolution.  You know how priests take care of their own.  Part of that absolution should be to atone for his sins and take his punishment.  That, after all, is part of Catholic tradition.  You are told to take responsibility for your actions and do the right thing.  Alas, what your are taught and what the priests do is often a contradiction.

If the evidence against him is irrefutable shouldn’t part of his penance be to stand up and enter a guilty plea?

Here is what I would like to see.  I would like to see him enter a plea of not guilty.  I would like the Pennsylvania state courts to issue search warrants  to allow the police to search the Diocese of Scranton for evidence in this and other cases of sexual crimes that the Diocese helped to suppress.  I would like to see the Pike County District attorney issue subpoenas for Father Bob’s records.  I would like the Diocese to fight that subpoena with every fiber of their being.  And then I want to see them lose.  I would love to see news reports featuring law enforcement carrying boxes of evidence from the Chancery.  All of which should become a matter of public record.

I would like to see investigators go to the parishes and the schools that this priest has been affiliated with and actively search for victims of sexual crimes at the hands of Father Timchak.  It is not a stretch to think that hemay have  acted on his impulses over the years.  There are families with children that were particularly close to this priest.  Start there.  The tell tale signs are very clear in hindsight.   He may have favored a particular child, taken him under his wing, taken him on day trips, maybe an overnight stay somewhere? The best candidates are kids from broken homes or homes with significant addiction or medical issues.  The family, especially the mother, will be very devout in their faith.  The priest is the spiritual advisor or perhaps a  marraige or grief counselor.  This is how he would work his way in.    The targets have to be in awe of the priest and fully accept that the priest is the representative of god on earth.  These are the families in which victims are targeted.

There needs to be an in depth investigation.  I would be willing to bet that the kiddie porn may just be the tip of the iceberg.

I anticipate that the Diocese of Scranton will generously fund this man’s defense (with parishioners’ money, of course) and will stop at nothing to downplay the crimes, absolve the perpetrator and make the victims look invisible.  They will employ whatever sleight of hand is necessary to divert attention away from the church.  Their mission is to avoid scandal.  And yet, they fail at that mission over and over again.

I think all the records of all credibly accused priests in this diocese should be turned over to the U.S. Attorney for review of the crimes that they have committed and to determine the extent of the sexual crime cancer in the Diocese of Scranton.  I would like to see anyone who has covered up sexual abuse reports or moved priests to avoid prosecution dragged in front of a judge.  Let Bishops Timlin and Martino lead the procession to the bench!

Now would be an excellent time for Cardinal Rigali, the Archbishop of Philadelphia and the Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Scranton, to clean house and make right what has been wrong for decades.

Below is a listing  of Father Timchak’s assignment history to let people know where he has been.  He has probably left a trail of questionable behavior and, possibly, young victims in his wake.   Why do these guys always have lots of access to schools?  The authorities need to go to these parishes and schools before the Diocese of Scranton starts passing around confidentiality agreements and checks.

Father Timchak’s history as a priest presented from TimesLeader.com:

Timchak’s history as a priest

According to Diocese of Scranton records:

June 27, 1992: Father Timchak was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Scranton.

1992-94: Assistant Pastor, St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception Parish, Wilkes-Barre.

1994-96: Director of Religious Formation, Seton Catholic High School, Pittston; in residence at St. John the Evangelist Parish, Pittston.

1996-98: Director of Religious Formation, Bishop Hoban High School, Wilkes-Barre; and Assistant Pastor, Holy Saviour Parish, Wilkes-Barre.

1998-2000: Assistant Pastor, Annunciation Parish, Williamsport.

2000-06: Pastor, Transfiguration Parish, West Hazleton, and SS. Peter and Paul Parish, Hazleton. Also Chaplain, Bishop Hafey Jr./Sr. High School, Hazleton, 2005-06.

2006-07: Leave of Absence. During this period, he worked in the Luzerne County Probation Office.

2007-April 2009: Assistant Pastor, St. Vincent de Paul, Milford, and St. John Neumann, Lords Valley. Also, he was an occasional substitute teacher in area elementary schools.

April 2009-present: Leave of Absence.

Working the Congregation, A Story of a Philandering Priest …

The Year of the Priest rolls on. I just don’t think that this is what the Pope had in mind!

A New York Times article that ran on 15 October tells the story of “a mother, a sick son and his father, the priest”. The priest a, Franciscan Friar, was able to work his way into the family, taking advantage of the woman by using his position as “spiritual director” and marriage counselor after the woman’s marriage fell apart. He eventually ended up “sharing a bed, meals, movie nights and vacations with the children”.

The relationship finally ended up producing a son. The Franciscans eventually acquiesced to providing child support after convincing the woman to sign a confidentiality agreement. The relationship between the priest and the woman came to an end when another woman confronted the woman who gave birth to the priest’s child because she too had a long term sexual relationship with the same priest.

The priest in question did get to go to a program run for priests with sexual disorders in New Mexico. Can it be the Servants of the Paraclete that worked with this priest? ( This is the same organization that helps American Dioceses with their “Pedophile Relocation and Protection” issues.) The recidivism rate for the graduates of these programs seems to be quite high.

The woman is seeking assistance for the son who was the product of this union. Now 22, the young man has been diagnosed with terminal cancer on the one hand and is fighting the Franciscans on the other for help with the medical bills. While they cry poverty and claim they are doing more than the law requires (a familiar battle cry of the Catholic hierarchy), the order is providing some financial assistance until the man turns 23. The priest is doing nothing.

Despite the fact that the order was aware of this man’s playboy lifestyle, it appears that they did not sanction him in any way. In fact, he was successful in being selected for positions of greater authority and responsibility, with the order knowing full well about his extracurricular activities. This guy even was in a position to teach seminarians about how to stay celibate.about his relationships with women. I think he maybe teaching the priests of the future how to score.

This story is not all that surprising, and the fact that the New York Times ran with the story at all is pretty remarkable. But what I found to be the most fascinating bit of information in the story is that a landmark study in 1990 by the scholar A.W. Richard Sipe, a former Benedictine, existed that documented this phenomenon in the church. That study found that 20% of Catholic Priests were involved in “continuing sexual relationships with women” and another 8-10% had “occasional heterosexual relationships”. An earlier study by Sipe concluded that 30% of Catholic priests had a homosexual orientation. Other studies put that number closer to 50%. The studies also suggest that up to 98% of those priests are sexually active.

You do the math. That puts 5-6 out of 10 priests who are sexually active with partners presumably over the age of 18. Throw in the 5-8% who have a pedophilia orientation and it seems that the number of priests living up to their vow of celibacy, regardless of their sexual orientation, is the minority of Catholic Clergy.

It seems to me that the Catholic Church may not be encouraging this kind of behavior, but they are definitely not taking steps to curb it. They are passively accepting it, allowing  vulnerable adults and children to be put at risk.  The priest in this case was finally suspended from his duties by the Catholic Diocese of Superior over this past weekend according to a brief article by the Duluth News Tribune. I note that the Franciscans were not the organization taking this action.

There are many that will say the woman in this case knew what she was getting into by having a sexual relationship with a priest. It is always easy to blame the woman who seduced the priest away from God. But this is a clear case of a philandering priest (with other girlfriends) taking advantage of his position to push his advances on a woman he was supposed to be counseling. If he was a psychologist, he could lose his license for such behavior. No, the faithful will brand the woman as the one to blame. They will forgive the priest for being “all too human”. There will be no consequences for him. Unfortunately, the damage will continue to permeate every facet of this woman’s life. And in this case, the consequences are visited on the son as well. The son is terminally ill and the father just sloughs it off. 

The priest, for his part, did send the young man a card during his medical battle with brain tumors. That has to count for something, right?