Summary of Case: Admitted in 2006 that he fondled the young altar boy Mark Foley in the mid-1960s. Later in 2006, John Doe 26 filed suit, alleging that Mercieca performed oral sex on him in the late 1970s when Doe was a 12- or 13-year-old boy. Mercieca has admitted that during a two-year period, he skinnydipped with Foley, gave him nude massages during saunas, and took him on trips to Washington DC and New York City. During one of those trips, according to sources close to Foley's family, a single incident of abuse occurred. Mercieca admitted that he might have gone too far with Foley one night, while taking drugs for a nervous breakdown. Mercieca was a dinner guest at the Foley home, and Foley visited Mercieca at the Sacred Heart rectory "all the time," according to the priest. Later, as a U.S. Representative for Florida, Foley sent sexual messages to teenage pages and was forced to resign when the messages were made public. After his resignation, he stated that he had been sexually abused as a boy by a clergyman.
Incardinated: Miami diocese and archdiocese.
|1962||1965||Unknown parish(es) in Brazil.|
• Mercieca admitted in 2006 that he fondled a boy here, took him on overnight trips, and socialized with the boy's family. See the Sarasota Herald-Tribune report on the first interview with Mercieca, with a description of how the story was broken. See also a transcript of WPTV's interview with Mercieca, an AP report based on a 3rd interview, a Washington Post report based on a 4th interview, and a transcript of a CBS interview. See also the Miami Herald summary.
|FL||3/4. Assistant pastor.
Rev. Thomas Anglim was pastor. Other priests were Revs.
Eugene M. Quinlan, Mercieca, and Rafael Franco.
In 1966, Anglim left and was replaced by Jerome J. Martin
as administrator (not pastor). Franco also left in that year.
In the (then) Miami diocese, where Coleman F. Carroll was bishop.
Now in the Palm Beach diocese.
The parish school was run by 5 Sisters of St. Joseph of St. Augustine with 5 lay teachers, and had 312 pupils in 1965-66. Sr. Mary Louis was the principal.
Not indexed in the 1966-67 Directories but listed in the parish entry of the Miami pages. This reticence would have made it difficult for a researcher to find Mercieca in the Directory. See article.
|North Palm Beach||FL||2/2. Assistant pastor. Administrator was Rev. John W. Schlinkmann.||
In the (then) Miami diocese, where Coleman F. Carroll was bishop. Miami became an archdiocese and Carroll an archbishop in 1968.
Now in the Palm Beach diocese.
Parish school was run by 3 Sisters of St. Joseph with 3 lay teachers and had 359 pupils in 1967-68. Sr. Mary Victor was the principal, and was replaced by Sr. James Therese in 1968.
Not indexed in the 1968-69 Directories but listed at St. Clare's in the parish entry of the Miami pages.
Note: Listed at San Isidro parish in Pompano Beach in a newspaper article and accompanying list. This is an error, since corrected. San Isidro was founded in 1969 with Rev. Jeremiah Crowley as its administrator. The parish first appears in the 1970 Directory, where it shares a PO Box with St. Coleman's (see next entry). In the index for the 1970 Directory, Mercieca is said to be in Pompano Beach at PO Box 1462. In the Miami pages, he is listed only at St. Coleman's.
|FL||3/3. Assistant pastor. Pastor was Very Rev. Msgr. Michael J. Fogarty, dean of the Broward deanery. Other priests were Rev. Daniel K. Dorrity and Mercieca. Rev. Henry F. O'Loughlin was added in 1970. In 1971 Dorrity and O'Loughlin left, Mercieca moved up, and Rev. Martin Devereaux became the junior priest. Rev. Ernesto Garcia-Rubio was added in 1972. Garcia-Rubio has also been accused of abuse.||
In the Miami archdiocese, where Coleman F. Carroll was archbishop.
Parish school was run by 6 Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis of Mary Immaculate with 6 lay teachers and had 463 pupils in 1969-70. The principal was Sr. Dorothy.
Mercieca begins to be indexed in the 1970 Directory.
|Homestead||FL||2/2. Assistant pastor. Pastor was Rev. Patrick Murray. He left in 1974 and was replaced as pastor by Rev. Gilberto Fernandez.||
In the Miami archdiocese, where Coleman F. Carroll was archbishop.
Parish school was run by Sisters of Third Order Regular of St. Francis with 8 lay teachers, and had 310 pupils. Sr. Anne Bernadette was principal.
In 1978, when Gerard LaCerra, Mercieca's colleague from this parish, was made chancellor, Mercieca was finally incardinated in the Miami archdiocese. See article.
Listed as a North Miami parish (see list of priests in next column) and then as a City of Miami parish starting in the 1983 Directory.
In that Directory, the priests were Revs. Edward M. Kelly, Jorge Perales, Luis Casabon, Mercieca, and Daniel Kubala in residence. In 1985, the priests became: Revs. Juan J. Sosa, Stephen Hilley, Guy E. Brown, Jorge Perales, and Mercieca.
|FL||5/6. Assistant pastor. Pastor was Rev. James B. Reynolds. Other priests were Revs. George Razutis, Francisco Acosta, Donald Walk, Mercieca, and (in residence) Gerard LaCerra. Walk has been accused of abuse. LaCerra was head of the archdiocesan Religious Education office and director of the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine. By the time Mercieca moved to St. Ambrose in 1986, LaCerra was chancellor of the archdiocese. In 1976, the priests were Revs. James B. Reynolds, George E. Duffy (a Brooklyn priest), Candido Garcia CM (a priest from Spain), Mercieca, and in residence Gerard La Cerra and Donald J. Walk. In 1977, Rev. Paul V. Vuturo replaced Duffy, who moved to St. Ann's in Naples. Rev. Robert N. Lynch replaced La Cerra in 1978. Rev. Julio Alvarez arrived in 1979 from the Washington archdiocese. Revs. Luis Casabon (from Cuba) and Daniel Kubala arrived in 1980.||
In the Miami archdiocese, where Coleman F. Carroll was archbishop. In 1976, Edward A. McCarthy became coadjutor archbishop. He became archbishop in 1977.
Parish school was run by 7 Sisiters of St. Dominic with 15 lay teachers, and had 478 pupils in 1975-76. Sr. Joan Marie OP was principal.
|Deerfield Beach||FL||3/5. Priests were Revs. James Connaughton, Jack Cosentino (of the Fargo ND diocese), Mercieca, Michael Burke OP, and Edward Rizzo (of the Brownsville TX diocese)||In the Miami archdiocese, where Edward A. McCarthy was archbishop.|
|4/22/87||6/16/93||St. Henry||Pompano Beach||FL||3/3, then 2/2, 3/3. Pastor was Very Rev. James B. Reynolds, dean of the Northwest Broward deanery. Other priests were Revs. Timothy Piano and Mercieca. Piano left in 1988. In 1989, Msgr. Arthur Geoghegan, formerly of the Providence RI diocese, arrived as the #2 priest. In 1990, Rev. Guy Fenger arrived. In 1991, Geoghegan and Fenger left.||
In the Miami archdiocese, where Edward A. McCarthy was archbishop.
In the 1991 Directory, enrollment in the parish CCD program was stated for the first time as 993 students – likely a typo, because in the next two years, enrollment is 79 and 68.
2/3. Priests were Revs. Joseph T. Carney, Mercieca, and Joaquin Paret. In the 1994-2001 Directories, Mercieca is identified for the first time as a priest from Malta. In the 2002 Directory, "Malta" in parentheses is dropped. In the 1995 Directory, Paret is identified as a priest from Cuba. In 1999, Jorge Noda, also from Cuba, replaced Paret. In 2000, Joaquin Rodriguez, also from Cuba, replaced Noda.
In the Miami archdiocese, where Edward A. McCarthy was archbishop. In 1994, John C. Favalora became archbishop.
Parish school had 1 sister and 17 lay teachers and 263 students in 1993-94. Principal was Mr. Pio Tei. In the 1995 Directory, enrollment in catechetical programs begins to be stated – 210 students.
|10/21/02||Retired.||In the Miami archdiocese, where John C. Favalora was archbishop.|
|2005||Sponsorship Program, Christian Child Care International||Port-au-Prince||Haiti||Director||Is also said to be running a hospital for AIDS patients in Port-au-Prince. See CCCI 2005, p. 3.|
St. Mary's Cathedral
|Victoria||Malta||Mercieca said Mass and heard confessions.||In the Gozo diocese, where Mario Grech is bishop. The Gozo diocese is a suffragans of the Malta archdiocese, where Joseph Mercieca is archbishop.|
||Faculties removed by the Miami archdiocese.|
Source: Official Catholic Directory (New York: Kenedy & Sons, 1966-2005); Pastoral Assignments for Father Anthony Mercieca (Miami: Archdiocese of Miami, October 22, 2006); Complaint in John Doe 26 v. Miami Archdiocese and Archbishop Favalora (October 25, 2006).
Offers Abuser Name: The Disgraced Ex-Congressman's Lawyer Says the Man Foley
Accuses Is Still a Priest, but Sources Say He Is Retired, by Matthew Doig
and Maurice Tamman, Herald-Tribune, Florida (October 18, 2006)
- Archdiocese: Sex-Abuse Claim 'Credible', by Lona O'Connor, Palm Beach Post, Florida (October 18, 2006)
- Ex-Priest Says He Knows Foley's Alleged Abuser, by Jose Lambiet, Palm Beach Post, Florida (October 18, 2006)
- Foley to Meet Archdiocese Officials to Reveal Name of Alleged Abuser, by Mike Clary and Peter Franceschina, South Florida Sun-Sentinel (October 18, 2006)
- Foley Lawyers Give Name of Priest to Prosecutors, by Marc Caputo, Miami Herald, Florida (October 18, 2006)
Tells of Foley Relationship Then-Altar Boy May Have Found Some Things Inappropriate,
by Matthew Doig and Maurice Tamman, Herald-Tribune, Florida (October 19, 2006)
- Transcript of Interview with Rev. Anthony Mercieca, by Tom Kastanotis, WPTV (October 19, 2006)
- Foley Fallout: NewsChannel 5 Speaks with Priest, by Eric Glasser, WPTV (October 19, 2006)
- Interview Transcript: Rev. Mercieca Discusses Foley, by Katie Couric, CBS News (October 19, 2006)
- Seeking Abuser Is No Witch Hunt, by Tom Lyons, Herald-Tribune, Florida (October 19, 2006)
- Foley Lawyers Name Priest He Accuses: Lawyers for Mark Foley Gave Prosecutors the Name of a Priest They Said Molested the Disgraced Congressman When He Was a Boy, by Marc Caputo, Miami Herald, Florida (October 19, 2006)
- Foley Lawyers Say State Now Knows Identity of Priest Who Allegedly Abused Him, by Scott Travis, South Florida Sun-Sentinel (October 19, 2006)
- Paper Names Priest Accused of Foley Abuse; Church Not Yet Notified, in Catholic News Service (October 19, 2006)
- Priest Denies Having Sex with Foley, by Frances D'Emilio, Sierra Times (October 19, 2006)
- Priest Acknowledges Intimate Contact with Foley: He Tells of Nudity and 'Light Touching', by Howard Schneider and Debbi Wilgoren, Washington Post, Florida (October 19, 2006)
- Ex-Priest Turned Expert on Sex Abuse Explains Reasoning of Foley Priest, in KAIT, Florida (October 19, 2006)
- Priest Admits Fondling Foley, Says It Wasn't Abuse, on CNN (October 20, 2006)
- Priest Admits to Relationship with Congressman, in Malta Media News (October 19, 2006)
- Newspaper's Pursuit of Foley Priest Took on Watergate Trappings, by Phil Davis, Times Daily, Tampa FL (October 19, 2006)
- State Prosecutors Confirm Name of Priest, in Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Florida (October 19, 2006)
- 'Sarasota' Editor Defends Foley Story in Wake of Priest's Criticism, by Joe Strupp, Editor & Publisher (October 19, 2006)
- Priest Denies Foley Abuse Allegations, on ABC 12 (October 19, 2006)
- Priest Named by Foley Admits to 'Fondling' Him, Miami Herald (October 20, 2006)
- Priest's Resume, Miami Herald (October 20, 2006)
- Archdiocese of Miami Statement Regarding Father Anthony Mercieca, by Mary Ross Agosta, Archdiocese of Miami (October 20, 2006)
- Church to Probe Nude Foley Claims, on CNN (October 20, 2006)
- Priest Recalls He Was Naked with Foley, Denies Sex, Associated Press (October 20, 2006)
- Answering the 'Call', by Gerald D. Coleman, America Magazine (October 20, 2006)
- Gay Priest Denies Foley Abuse Allegations, by Tony Grew, Pink News (October 20, 2006)
- Gozo Curia Investigating Abuse Allegations, by Chris Galea, di-ve news (October 20, 2006)
- Kid Foley's Nude Rev. Romps: Priest Tells of Rubs and Skinny Dips, by Geoff Earle, New York Post (October 20, 2006)
- Gozo Diocese Probing Alleged Sexual Abuse, in MaltaMedia News (October 20, 2006)
- Priest Offers Further Details about His Relations with Foley, by Matthew Doig and Maurice Tamman, Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Florida (October 20, 2006)
- Gozitan Priest Linked to Disgraced US Congressman, by Herman Grech, Times of Malta (October 20, 2006)
- Some in Diocese Feel Sense of Relief after Priest Comes Forward in Foley Case, in TCPalm, Florida (October 20, 2006)
- Priest Says He Touched Foley, by Kathleen Chapman and Michael C. Bender, Palm Beach Post (October 20, 2006)
- Diocese Has Abuse Record: 9 Other Clergy Members in Area Where Foley Grew up Are Named in Lawsuits Related to Sex Abuse, by Thomas Hargrove, Detroit News, Florida (October 20, 2006)
- Archdiocese of Miami Names Foley Priest, Bars Him from Practicing, by Brian Skoloff, Florida Times-Union (October 20, 2006)
- Maltese Priest's Behavior toward Foley Called Inexcusable, Criminal, in Catholic News Service, Florida (October 20, 2006)
- Miami Archdiocese Apologizes to Foley, on CNN (October 20, 2006)
- Miami Archdiocese: Behavior by Foley Priest Is 'Morally Reprehensible', in Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Florida (October 20, 2006)
- Press Release Regarding Allegations of Sexual Abuse As Reported in the International Press, in Diocese of Gozo (October 19, 2006)
- Foley May Have Used 'Training', by Carol E. Lee, Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Florida (October 20, 2006)
- Experts: Abusers Think They're Innocent, by Rachel Zoll, Associated Press, United States (October 20, 2006)
- Archdiocese to Investigate Foley Priest, by Daniela Deane, Washington Post, Florida (October 20, 2006)
Priest Denies Sexual Relationship with Former Republican Lawmaker: Gozo Curia
Tight-Lipped over Investigation, by Francesca Vella, Malta Independent (October
- Foley Scandal: Attention Pointed in Wrong Directions, by Sean Kosofsky, Sun News, United States (October 21, 2006)
- Palm Beach Authorities Name Gozitan Priest, by Massimo Farrugia and Herman Grech, Times of Malta (October 21, 2006)
- Bishop Launches Investigation of Priest in Foley Case, by Michelle Sheldone, TCPalm, Florida (October 22, 2006)
- Church Probe Curbs Priest, by Kathleen Chapman, Palm Beach Post, Florida (October 21, 2006)
- Just a Quiet Retiree Leading Mass in Malta, by Ian Fisher, New York Times (October 21, 2006)
- Foley Priest Probe, by Niles Lathem, New York Post, United States (October 21, 2006)
- Press Review, in di-ve news (October 21, 2006)
- Priest Abuse Investigators Wonder If Foley Is the Beginning, by Jamie Holmes, WPTV, Florida (October 21, 2006)
Stand by Priest Accused of Fondling Foley, by Maria Sanminiatelli, Associated
Press (October 22, 2006)
- Gozo Priest Who Said He Fondled Foley Relieved of Duties, in Malta Independent, Washington DC (October 22, 2006)
- Gozitan Priest Unlikely to Face Prosecution, by Herman Grech, Times of Malta, Florida (October 22, 2006)
- Archdiocese Seeks Foley Priest Abuse Victims, in Washington Times (October 22, 2006)
- Naked Confessions of Foley's Priest Are Hard to Stomach, by Howard Goodman, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Florida (October 22, 2006)
- Pastoral Assignments for Father Anthony Mercieca (Miami: Archdiocese of Miami, October 22, 2006)
in US Sex Claim: Miami Ban on Saying Mass 'Followed in Gozo', by Massimo
Farrugia, Times of Malta (October 23, 2006)
- Abusive Priests Often Deny Effect of Actions, Studies Find, by Peter Franceschina and Jim Davis, South Florida Sun-Sentinel (October 23, 2006)
Have No Excuse, in Ledger-Enquirer, Florida (October 24, 2006)
- Sant's Viagra, Pullicino's Blues, by Saviour Balzan, Malta Today (October 22, 2006)
- Gozitan Clergy Abuse Scandal Rocks Maltese Church's Omertà, by Karl Schembri, Malta Today (October 22, 2006)
Scandals Rock Congress and Church, in The Republican, Springfield MA (October
- Alleged Victim of Priest Who Fondled Foley Sues Miami Archdiocese, by Jay Weaver, Miami Herald, Florida (October 25, 2006)
- The Rev. Anthony Mercieca, in Miami Herald, Florida (October 25, 2006)
- Latest Mercieca Complaint, (October 25, 2006)
- 2nd Fla. Altar Boy Accuses Foley Priest, by Jennifer Kay, Seattle Post-Intelligencer (October 25, 2006)
- Foley Fallout Continues, on Central Florida News (October 25, 2006)
- Another Allegation against Priest Tied to Foley Scandal, on ABC 12 (October 25, 2006)
- Second Man Alleges to Have Been Abused by Priest, in Malta Media News (October 25, 2006)
- Second Man Accuses Gozitan Priest of Sex Abuse, in di-ve news (October 25, 2006)
- US Priest Faces Another Abuse Allegation, in Sydney Morning Herald, Florida (October 26, 2006)
- Man: Priest Who Fondled Foley Abused Me in '70s, Associated Press (October 25, 2006)
- New Abuse Claim against Priest, by Ariadne Massa, Times of Malta (October 26, 2006)
- Second Accusation against Gozitan Priest: Alleged Abuse Victim Sues for $10m in Damages, by David Lindsay, Malta Independent (October 26, 2006)
- Ex-Altar Boy Accuses Priest Who Fondled Foley, by Jay Weaver, Miami Herald, Florida (October 26, 2006)
- Man Says Foley's Priest Molested Him in 1970s, by Andrew Marra, Palm Beach Post (October 26, 2006)
- Gozitan Priest Denies Second Molestation Claim, in MaltaMedia News (October 27, 2006)
- Priest's Lawyer Denies 2nd Abuse Claim, by Maria Sanminiatelli, Associated Press, carried in Ledger, Malta (October 27, 2006)
- Archdiocese Defrocks Priest, Apologizes to Foley: 2nd Altar Boy Claims He Was Abused by Mercieca, by Phil Lapadula, Washington Blade (October 27, 2006)
- Crime & Justice: Predators, Justice System Alike Abuse Public's Trust, editorial in Naples Daily News (October 27, 2006)
- A Malicious Fabrication - Gozitan Priest's Lawyer, by Herman Grech, Times of Malta (October 28, 2006)
- Gozitan Priest Denies Allegations, in Malta Independent (October 28, 2006)
- Gozitan Priest to Be Called to Miami to Give Testimony, in Malta Independent (October 29, 2006)
- Foley's Ex-Priest Disconnected from Reality, by Stephanie Salter, Tribune-Star (October 28, 2006)
- Come On, It Was Only Fondling, by Daphne Caruana Galizia, Malta Independent (October 29, 2006)
- A Moment in Time: Don't Just Blame the Priest, Blame Priestly Conditions Too, by Charles Flores, Malta Independent (October 29, 2006)
- Gozitan Priest Will Be Called to Miami to Give Testimony, by Andrew Galea, di-ve news (October 30, 2006)
- Pope Requests Help for Victims of Pederast Priest, in Dominican Today (October 29, 2006)
Priests in a Parish: We use the following convention to show a priest's place among the clergy of a parish: 1/2 means that he is the first priest listed in the Official Catholic Directory (usually the pastor) and that there is a total of two priests at the parish. The shorthand 3/4 means that the priest is listed third on a four-priest roster. See our sample page from the Directory.
Note: The Official Catholic Directory aims to report the whereabouts of Catholic priests in the United States on January 1 of the Directory's publication year. Our working assumption is that a priest listed in the Directory for a given year was at the same assignment for part of the previous year as well. However, Kenedy and Sons will sometimes accept updates well into the year of publication. Diocesan clergy records are rarely available to correct this information. The Directory is also sometimes misleading or wrong. We have tried to create an accurate assignment record, given the source materials and their limitations. Assignment records are a work in progress and we are always improving the records that we post. Please email us with new information and corrections.
This assignment record collates Mercieca's career history as it is represented in the Official Catholic Directory with the allegation as it is reported in the media, and his admission.
A Note on Nomenclature: We use the term "assignment record," instead of the more common "service record," because "service" is not an appropriate word for the activities of an abusive priest. Dioceses are often less than forthcoming about the activities of retired priests, but when we can determine those activities, we list them in these assignment records, particularly if they involve ministry. Retired priests remain under obedience to their bishop, and even the activities of laicized priests should be a concern to the diocese.
This assignment record was last updated on 10/25/06.