Convicted Sexual Deviant Banned from Ministry
By Michael P. Buffer
May 2, 2013
Diocese of Scranton Bishop Joseph C. Bambera issued a statement Wednesday on a Tioga County verdict convicting a priest from Wilkes-Barre of sexually abusing an altar boy for six years.
Thomas Shoback, 66, who once served as an assistant pastor at St. Joseph's Church in Hazleton, was found guilty Tuesday of nine counts, according to a news report from WETM-TV in Elmira, N.Y. In his statement, Bambera said Shoback "is permanently removed from ecclesiastical ministry and his status as a priest will be referred to the Holy See for a final determination."
The Holy See is headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church in Vatican City. The diocese cooperated with the investigation and prosecution of the criminal case against Shoback, a diocese news release said.
"At this time, I express my personal sorrow for the pain endured by those who suffered this abuse and extend my apology for any way in which the Church, and particularly its bishops, priests and deacons have failed them," Bambera said. "I also reaffirm my personal commitment to exercise vigilance in our protection of children and young people and offer my sincere gratitude to all who worked so diligently to resolve this case."
Court records did not indicate a sentencing date for Shoback, a Pittston native who was ordained as a priest in 1977.
"While Church law has been and will continue to be exercised with regard to this situation, anyone who believes that they have been the victim of child sexual abuse is encouraged to contact law enforcement," Bambera said. "Finally, I ask the faithful of the Diocese to join their prayers with mine to pray for the continued healing for all those impacted by child sexual abuse and all who search for healing, reconciliation and peace during this difficult time."
Shoback served at various Northeastern Pennsylvania churches in Exeter Township, Jermyn, Plains Township and Plymouth. In addition, he was a faculty member at the former Bishop Hoban High School in Wilkes-Barre.
Shoback's brother, Edward, who also was a longtime priest in the Scranton Diocese, was defrocked by the Vatican in July 2009 following similar child sex allegations, according to The Citizens' Voice archives.