Fr. Thomas J. Benestad

Ordained: 1970
Status: Accused

Diocese: Diocese of Allentown PA

Monsignor. Leaves of absence 1978-80, 2006-2007. Sabbatical 2001-2002. Retired in 2009. First named publicly as accused in 8/14/2018 PA Grand Jury Report. On Allentown diocese’s 8/19/2018 list. Allegation to diocese in 2011 that Benestad abused a boy, including forced oral copulation, beginning at age 9, in the early 1980s. Accuser said the priest squirted holy water into his mouth afterwards “to purify him.” Benestad denied the allegations, which were deemed credible by law enforcement. Diocese claims to have tried to have Benestad laicized, but the Vatican said not enough evidence. Living in 2018 in Boca Raton, FL, in the Diocese of Palm Beach.

Return to main database page. See abbreviations and posting policy. Send corrections.

Our Database of Publicly Accused does not state or imply that individuals facing allegations are guilty of a crime or liable for civil claims. The reports contained in the database are merely allegations. The U.S. legal system presumes that a person accused of or charged with a crime is innocent until proven guilty. Similarly, individuals who may be defendants in civil actions are presumed not to be liable for such claims unless a plaintiff proves otherwise. Admissions of guilt or liability are not typically a part of civil or private settlements. For more information, see our posting policy.