Priest's Tour Warrants Explanation
September 25, 2013
Scranton Bishop Joseph C. Bambera kept faith with his flock Sunday when he asked parishioners at numerous parishes to contact the Lackawanna County district attorney's office if they had any information about suspected inappropriate conduct by the Rev. William J. Paulish.
Father Paulish was charged with several crimes for his alleged sexual conduct with a minor, after security officers at Penn State's Worthington Scranton campus and Dunmore Police found him in his car with a 15-year-old boy.
Bishop Bambera's letter was read Sunday at numerous parishes where Father Paulish had served since his ordination in 1988. Between then and his arrest Friday, he had 15 assignments across the diocese. Prior to his ordination, he had been a therapist at Lourdesmont, a center for troubled adolescents.
While reaching out to parishioners where Father Paulish had been assigned, the diocese has declined to comment on his frequent reassignments and unexplained leaves of absence.
Although it is not unusual for young priests to be reassigned often, Father Paulish was reassigned five times in his first 5½ years. And, over the course of his quarter century as a priest, many of his assignments lasted just a few months.
Reassignment of suspected child abusers has been a principal issue in the church's long global crisis. This far down that road, parishioners and the public deserve assurances that the practice is not at play in this case or, at least, that it has stopped.