Area Diocese Adopt Sex Misconduct Statements Cases to Be Reviewed by Board in Scranton, Bishop in Allentown

By Dick Cowen
Morning Call
May 06, 1993

The Catholic Diocese of Scranton has appointed an independent review board to aid Bishop James C. Timlin in investigations of charges of sexual misconduct by its clergy.

A diocese announcement said the board's function will be to move promptly and credibly to help determine the fitness for ministry of any priest accused of sexual misconduct with a minor, and the conditions under which the priest may return to even limited ministry.

The initial board comprises two priests, two lawyers, two college professors and a nun --five males, two females.

They are Monsignors Arthur Kaschenbach of St. Mary of the Mount in Mount Pocono and Peter Madus of St. Joseph's in Scranton, attorneys Carl Frank of Wilkes-Barre and Vito Geroulo of Scranton, professors Margaret Hogan of King's College and Joseph Barrett of Marywood College, and Sister Maureen McCann, president of the Dallas Regional Community of the Sisters of Mercy.

No such board exists in the Allentown Diocese. Instead, the situations are handled by Bishop Thomas Welsh, who may request "the assistance of other persons as required and appropriate," a diocese statement says.

Both diocese have adopted a basic statement of action recommended last fall by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops.

But the Scranton policy directive goes into greater detail, particularly in voicing concerns for the victims and their families.

Each diocese has had a case involving a pedophile priest that became public. In each instance, there have been civil and criminal actions.

The Rev. Robert Caparelli, 53, former pastor of St. Vincent DePaul Catholic Church at Dingmans Ferry, Pike County, is serving two to five years in Lycoming County Prison for indecent assault on a teen-age altar boy under 16 in 1985.

Also pending are charges of indecent assault and involuntary deviate sexual intercourse involving an altar boy who was 10, Pike District Attorney Charles Lieberman said.

The parents of both youngsters also have filed a civil suit in Pike County Court against Caparelli and the Scranton Diocese, alleging the priest had HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, when he sexually abused the boys.

In the Allentown Diocese, the Rev. Thomas Bender pleaded guilty to one count each of indecent assault and corruption of minors in 1988 for a pedophilic relationship with an altar and choir boy.

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