Fr. Thomas J. Benestad

Ordained: 1970
Status: Accused

Diocese: Diocese of Allentown PA

Monsignor. Leaves of absence 1978-80, 2006-07. Sabbatical 2001-02. Retired in 2009. First named publicly as accused in 8/14/18 PA Grand Jury Report. On Allentown diocese’s 8/19/18 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.


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