Defrocked Priest from Philadelphia Called a 'Brutal Abuser'
Has Been Living in Dallas
By Robert Wilonsky
The Dallas Morning News
January 29, 2014
James Brzyski, a defrocked priest from
Philadelphia who’s almost always described as “one of the Archdiocese’s most brutal abusers,”
has been hiding in plain sight in Dallas while pretending to be
“a jovial former Xerox employee who’d lost millions after the
Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.” And a support group for men
and women abused by priest is calling on the Catholic Diocese of
Dallas to do something about it.
target="_blank">The Philadelphia Daily News found the
62-year-old at the Crescent View Apartments near Cedar Springs
and the Dallas North Tollway. Residents who once welcomed him
warmly quickly discovered there was something wrong with their
new neighbor, who played with visiting young boys in the
complex’s pool and “bragged about going online to find males who
appeared to be underage.” They soon discovered his past as a man
accused of sexually assaulting as many as 100 boys, according to a grand jury report, during his
years in Philadelphia during the 1970s and ’80s.
Brzyski, who left the church in 1985 but wasn’t kicked
out of the priesthood for another two decades, said nothing about
his past until he was confronted about it. Because he didn’t have
“Brzyski is able to move from one community to another
in relative anonymity — at least until his behavior gives him
away — because the Archdiocese won’t disclose his whereabouts, or
the whereabouts of 23 other Philadelphia priests who have been
defrocked for abusing minors,” writes William Bender. A public
records search shows Brzyski doesn’t appear to have a Texas
driver’s license, and that since leaving Philadelphia he’s lived
in Virginia; the West Hollywood neighborhood of Los Angeles; and
Kenosha, Wisconsin. And he doesn’t have to register as a sex
offender, Bender notes, because “the Archdiocese kept his case
under wraps in the 1980s, when allegations that he was sexually
abusing children were first reported to church leaders.”
Bender later adds that “Brzyski’s choice of Dallas is
ironic, because the man who blew the whistle on him in the
1980s lives only a half-hour away. The Rev. James Gigliotti,
pastor of St. Maria Goretti in Arlington, Texas, said he was
unaware that Brzyski was living nearby and was disturbed to hear
neighbors’ reports about his behavior around kids.”
Following the story’s publication Wednesday morning, the
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests issued a lengthy
statement calling on the Catholic Diocese of Dallas and Bishop
Kevin Farrell to “act now to warn parents about him and help
police catch him.”
The Dallas diocese’s director of communications, Annette
Gonzales Taylor, says the diocese was unaware of Brzyski’s move
to Dallas until the story’s publication. And, Taylor says, it’s
powerless to do anything about it: “He’s been laicized, so Bishop
Farrell has no jurisdiction over this individual,” she tells The
Dallas Morning News. We appreciate the media notifying the
public about his presence.”
That appears to answer SNAP’s question posed in its
statement released Wednesday.
“So what’s Dallas Bishop Kevin Farrell — and the
hundreds of Dallas area church employees — going to do?” says the
statement issued by Barbara Dorris, SNAP’s outreach director.
“They could split hairs, dodge responsibility and feign
powerlessness. Or they could show real courage, compassion and
leadership. That’s the choice: do nothing or step up. We hope
they step up.
“Specifically, we hope Dallas bishops, priests, and lay
employees: Get every shred of information about Brzyski from
Philly church officials; post all this information on the
diocesan and parish websites; make pulpit announcements this
weekend about Brzyski; and beg bishops in each state where
Brzyski has lived (Pennsylvania and Virginia) to use pulpit
announcements, church bulletins and diocesan websites to seek out
anyone who saw, suspected or suffered his crimes or misdeeds.”
The full statement from SNAP follows. We will update
when we hear back from the diocese.
Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Outreach
Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by
For immediate release: Wednesday, Jan. 29
A notorious and frightening now-defrocked Philadelphia
predator priest has recently moved to — and apparently from — a
Dallas apartment complex where he repeatedly expressed sexual
interest in kids.
Dallas Catholic officials must act now to warn parents
about him and help police catch him.
Catholic officials recruited, educated, ordained,
hired, supervised, trained and repeatedly protected Fr. James
Brzyski for more than three decades, giving him access to
vulnerable kids and unsuspecting parents time and time again.
Then, when the heat got too intense, they cut him
loose. Now, this dangerous man moves around the country
continuing to act in scary ways around kids.
So what’s Dallas Bishop Kevin Farrell — and the
hundreds of Dallas area church employees — going to do?
They could split hairs, dodge responsibility and feign
Or they could show real courage, compassion and
That’s the choice: do nothing or step up.
We hope they step up.
Specifically, we hope Dallas bishops, priests, and lay
– get every shred of information about Brzyski from
Philly church officials,
– post all this information on the diocesan and parish
– make pulpit announcements this weekend about
– beg bishops in each state where Brzyski has lived
(Pennsylvania and Virginia) to use pulpit announcements, church
bulletins and diocesan websites to seek out anyone who saw,
suspected or suffered his crimes or misdeeds.
They should not wait for subpoeanas. Church officials
and members should take the initiative now. (Bishops always
claim they “cooperate” with police and prosecutors. In reality,
that means they respond when subpoeaned. Rarely, if ever, do
they take the initiative and promptly and voluntarily give ALL
information they have about proven, admitted or credibly accused
child molesting clerics to secular authorities.)
We beg everyone who is or has been a Dallas Catholic
church-goer or staffer — think hard, find courage, and call
police with even the slightest clue you may have. (Or send it to
groups like SNAP and BishopAccountability.org)
We beg every Dallas citizen who has encountered
Brzyski to do likewise.
And we urge every Dallas parishioner to insist that
your bishop speak out and reach out now, to alert parents and
parishioners in Texas, Virginia and California, and any other
place where this dangerous man has lived or visited over the
This is an increasingly common and troubling pattern –
hundreds of suspended or defrocked child molesting clerics going
or being sent to far away places where no one knows of their
crimes. Just yesterday, we disclosed the death of a priest (Fr.
Richard Mataconis) who molested in New York and was later sent
to Rome where he worked for years.
Whether it’s Fr. James Beine (St. Louis to Las Vegas),
Fr. Harry Walsh (Detroit to St. Paul),
Brother Damien Chong (Los Angeles to Chicago to
Boston), Brother Gerald Chumick (Newfoundland to Santa Barbara),
Fr. Carmin Sita (Newark to Jefferson City), Fr. Thomas Teczar
(Worcester to Dallas to Amarillo), Fr. Carroll Howlin (Joliet to
Lexington) or Fr. Thomas Cronin (Kansas City to Reno), this is a
growing public safety crisis.
The same is true of bishops who send or let child
molesting clerics go abroad. It’s happening more and more.
Bishops basically have their cake and eat it too: they
enjoy the financial benefits a priest brings to their diocese,
but when he’s caught molesting kids bishops think only of
themselves. Instead of working towards criminal prosecution or
housing and supervising the predator priests, bishops do the
bare minimum and sit passively back while the offenders
resurface elsewhere living or working around kids.
Bishops are powerful, not powerless. They should use
their power to protect kids – from predators who are working,
retired, suspended or even defrocked.
Finally, we beg every person who was hurt by Bryzski –
anywhere – to overcome their fears and shame. Now more than
ever, it’s crucial that you call police.
And we applaud Brzyski’s neighbors who talked among
themselves about his suspicious behavior, told him he was
inappropriate, “googled” him, and spoke with a reporter about
him. We hope they will contact law enforcement and share every
bit of knowledge they may have about Brzyski, especially if any
of them have any hints whatsoever about where Brzyski may be
now. We also hope they’ll talk with every child who was near
Brzyski, and gently ask if he hurt any of them in any way. In
cases like this, we are confident that if every adult acts
responsibly and aggressively, predators like Brzyski can be
prosecuted, convicted and kept away from kids.