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.