|Former Area Principal Accused of Sex Assault
By Michael Hays
July 29, 2008
LOWER POTTSGROVE — A recent allegation of molestation has led to the removal of a former St. Pius X High School principal by Archdiocese of Philadelphia Cardinal Justin Rigali.
Father Gerard J. Hoffman was on the faculty at St. Pius X from 1976 to 1988, according to archdiocese spokeswoman Donna Farrell. Hoffman later served as principal from 1990 to 1993.
He is accused of sexually abusing a minor more than 30 years ago, the archdiocese said in a statement.
"This is the first allegation of sexual abuse of a minor that the archdiocese has received regarding Father Hoffman. Since 2002, he has been assigned as Parochial Vicar at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish in Doylestown, Bucks County. Father Hoffman is no longer residing at the parish rectory as of a week ago," the release stated.
Hoffman, who was ordained in 1973, has provided religious guidance at nine schools throughout the greater Philadelphia area. He served his home parish of St. Basil the Great in Kimberton from 1976 to 1977, according to Farrell.
The details of Hoffman's alleged sexual assault will not be released to the public at this time because the victim has requested that the information be kept private, Farrell said. For that reason, it is not known where the alleged molestation occurred.
If the victim is an adult, they can choose to not report the incident to civil authorities, she said. Although the victim was a minor at the time, this alleged incident happened more than 30 years ago.
"When we receive an allegation regarding a minor, there is no exception," Farrell said. "We report it to civil authorities immediately."
Throughout Hoffman's career with the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, he served in the following schools and parishes prior to Mount Carmel in 2002: St. Teresa of Avila, Valley Forge; St. Basil the Great, Kimberton; St. Isaac Jogues, Wayne; King of Peace, Philadelphia; St. John the Evangelist, Philadelphia; Cathedral Basilica of SS Peter and Paul; St. Pius X High School; Saint John Neumann High School, Philadelphia; Roman Catholic High School, Philadelphia.
Once a formal investigation is completed, an archdiocese review board will issue a recommendation to Cardinal Rigali, Farrell said.
Our Lady of Mount Carmel officials announced Hoffman's removal this past weekend. Counselors from the Victim Assistance Office were available after Masses. The archdiocese encourages congregants to call the office for assistance at 1-888-800-8780.
According to Mercury archives, Hoffman started at St. Pius X as a theology teacher before becoming religious department chairman and the director of school ministry. He holds a master's degree in education.
He graduated from Chester's St. James High School in 1963 before attending St. Charles Seminary in Overbrook from 1963 to 1973, according to Mercury archives. One of his assignments at St. Charles was features writer for Catholic Standard and Times newspaper.
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