Rev. Terry W. Specht

Summary of Case: Specht was placed on administrative leave in April 2012, due to an allegation that he had engaged in "sexual misconduct" with a teenage boy in the late 1990s. Specht was ordained in 1996, after a 21-year Navy career, where he worked on submarines. As a priest he was a high school chaplain and assistant principal, as well as the diocese's director of the Office of Child Protection and Safety, from 2004-2011. At the time of his removal from active ministry Specht was a parish pastor. Police launched a criminal investigation. Specht denied the allegations.

: 1996
Incardinated: Arlington diocese


Start Stop Parish/Assignment Town/Accusations State Position Notes


Arlington bishop was John Richard Keating (1983-1998), followed by Paul Stephen Loverde (1999-)

2000 St. Mary of Sorrows


In Jan. 2012 a man reported to the diocese that Specht had engaged in "sexual misconduct" against him when the man was a minor in the late 1990s.

VA 2/3 St. Mary's had a religious education program with 1,222-1,359 students. It also had a preschool.
2000 2007 St. Leo's Fairfax VA 4/4 In residence. St. Leo's had a school with 562-490 students, and a religious education program with 397-787 students.
2000 2007 Fairfax Nursing Home Fairfax VA   This was a station of St. Leo's.
2000 2004 Paul VI Catholic High School Fairfax VA chaplain; assistant principal Paul VI Catholic High had 1,125-1,162 students.
2004 2011 Diocesan Office of Child Protection and Safety Arlington VA interim director 2004-2006; director 2006-2011  
2005 2011 Diocesan Consultors Arlington VA    
2007 April 2012 Holy Spirit Annandale VA 1/3

Holy Spirit had a school with 324-375 students, and a religious education program with 852-603 students.

Specht was placed on administrative leave in April 2012, after a man told the diocese in January that Specht engaged with "sexual misconduct" with him as a minor in the late 1990s. The diocese reported the complaint to the Fairfax County Police Department, which launched a criminal investigation. Specht denied the allegations.


Sources: Official Catholic Directory (New York: P.J. Kenedy and Sons, 1997-2011)

Virginia Priest Who Headed Child Protection Office Is Accused of Abuse, By Michelle Boorstein, Washington Post, April 18, 2012
Terry Specht, Arlington Priest, Accused of Sexually Abusing Young Man, WJLA, April 18, 2012
Priest Placed on Leave, Roman Catholic Diocese of Arlington, April 18, 2012
Fairfax County Priest Accused of Sexual Misconduct Put on Leave, NBC Washington, April 18, 2012
Rev. Terry W. Specht of Arlington, Va. Diocese, Placed on Leave Pending Investigation of Sexual Misconduct Allegation, WUSA
April 19, 2012
Arlington Priest Once in Charge of Child Protection Investigated, By Meredith Somers, Washington Times, April 18, 2012
Priest, Former Head of Child Protection Office and Principal, Accused of Abuse, By Ella Desrosiers, Imperfect Parent, April 19, 2012
Arlington Priest on Leave after Sexual Misconduct Allegation, Washington Examiner, April 19, 2012

Priests in a Parish: We use the following convention to show a priest's place among the clergy of a parish: 1/2 means that he is the first priest listed in the Official Catholic Directory (usually the pastor) and that there is a total of two priests at the parish. The shorthand 3/4 means that the priest is listed third on a four-priest roster. See our sample page from the Directory.

Note: The Official Catholic Directory aims to report the whereabouts of Catholic priests in the United States on January 1 of the Directory's publication year. Our working assumption is that a priest listed in the Directory for a given year was at the same assignment for part of the previous year as well. However, Kenedy and Sons will sometimes accept updates well into the year of publication. Diocesan clergy records are rarely available to correct this information. The Directory is also sometimes misleading or wrong. We have tried to create an accurate assignment record, given the source materials and their limitations. Assignment records are a work in progress and we are always improving the records that we post. Please email us with new information and corrections.

This assignment record collates Specht's career history as it is represented in the Official Catholic Directory with allegations as reported in the media. We make no representation regarding the truth of the allegation we report, and we remind our readers that 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.

This assignment record was last updated on April 24, 2012