Former Mansfield-area Priest Charged with Abusing Altar Boy
By John Zick
June 15, 2012
A former Mansfield-area priest has been arrested on more than 30 charges accusing him of molesting an altar boy over a six-year span in the 1990s.
Fr. Thomas Shoback allegedly abused the boy from 1991-97 when the boy was 11-17 years old. At the time, Shoback was the parish priest for St. Mary’s Parish in Blossburg, about 10 miles south of Mansfield.
Pennsylvania State Police in Mansfield said the alleged abuse occurred in the parish rectory and at a private cabin on Lost Lane in Farmington Township.
Shoback, 66, was charged with seven counts of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, a first-degree felony; a single count of attempted involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, a first-degree felony; a single count of felony endangering the welfare of a child and seven counts of misdemeanor child endangerment; eight counts of misdemeanor indecent assault; and eight counts of corruption of minors, a first-degree misdemeanor.
First-degree felonies are punishable by up to 20 years in prison.
The investigation into Shoback began in November when the alleged victim, now an adult, contacted the Diocese of Scranton to say he had been abused. The diocese contacted the Tioga County District Attorney’s Office, which enlisted the help of state police.
The diocese immediately suspended Shoback, who last worked as pastor of Sacred Heart of Jesus and Mary in Lackawanna County. He had served a several other churches since leaving Blossburg, authorities said.
In a statement at the time Shoback was being investigated, the Diocese of Scranton said: “The Diocese of Scranton is committed to protecting children and to providing support to victims of sexual abuse. In expressing his personal sorrow for the pain suffered by survivors of abuse, The Most Reverend Joseph C. Bambera, bishop of Scranton, requests the faithful of the diocese to join him in praying for the healing of all those affected while working together to safeguard our children.”
Shoback was ordained in 1977.
Shoback’s brother, Edward, was defrocked by the Vatican in 2009 for molesting a minor.