|Archdiocese Takes Action against Priest in Abuse Case; Sex Abuse Victims Respond
March 24, 2009
Statement by Barbara Dorris, SNAP National Outreach Director 314-862-7688
We're grateful that this priest has been forbidden to function publicly as a priest, though that's a small price to pay for apparently molesting kids. We hope archdiocesan staff will closely monitor him and make sure that he abides by this restriction, because often church officials do not supervise predator priests and these dangerous men often violate the conditions they once agreed to honor.
Kids will be much safer if this priest is jailed. We urge Rigali to turn over his personnel file to law enforcement, and to personally visit every parish where he worked, begging victims and witnesses to speak up. We predict, however, that Rigali will continue to do what he's long done: the absolute bare minimum. We suspect he'll keep hiding behind his desk, lawyers and public relations department, instead of compassionately reaching out, like Jesus tells us to do, to the lost and wounded sheep: those who've been sexually violated by this cleric and others.
Regardless of whether the archdiocese acts properly or not, we hope that others who were abused by this priest will find the courage and strength to come forward, speak up, call police, and get help. We applaud those victims of his who have already taken this brave step.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the nation’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around for 20 years and have more than 8,000 members across the country. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)
Contact David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, 314-645-5915 home), Peter Isely (414-429-7259) Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747), Mary Grant (626-419-2930), Mark Serrano (703-727-4940)
Archdiocese takes action against priest in abuse case
By Sam Wood
A priest from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia has been removed from the ministry by Cardinal Justin Rigali following an investigation by church officials that found he sexually abused a minor more than 30 years ago.
Gerard J. Hoffman - former of both Roman Catholic High School in Philadelphia and St. Pius X in Pottstown - has agreed to accept a supervised life of prayer and penance at a home for retired priests in Delaware County, said Donna Ferrell, a diocese spokeswoman.
Since he was first accused of abuse in July 2008, the 64-year-old Hoffman has been prohibited from wearing clerical garb, presenting himself as a priest, or administering any of the Sacraments.
A church probe could not substantiate an initial set of charges, but the investigation uncovered unrelated allegations of sexual misconduct with a minor. The inquest by the Archdiocesan Review Board substantiated those charges.
Rigali ordered the restrictions on Hoffman to remain in place.
Since his ordination in 1973, Hoffman has served at numerous churches and schools in throughout the region. Most recently he was parochial vicar of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish in Doylestown.
In addition, he served at St. Teresa of Avila, Valley Forge (1973-1976); Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul (1976); St. Basil the Great, Kimberton (1976-1977); St. Isaac Jogues, Wayne (1977-1988); King of Peace, Philadelphia (1988-1989); St. John the Evangelist, Philadelphia (1989-1990); Chaplain and faculty member, Saint John Neumann High School, Philadelphia (1988-1990); Faculty, Saint Pius X High School, Pottstown, (1976 to 1988); Principal, St. Pius X High School, Pottstown (1990-1993) and Principal, Roman Catholic High School, Philadelphia (1993-2002).
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