Retired Priest Back in Good Standing with Church

Associated Press State & Local Wire
November 5, 2003

A retired Roman Catholic priest, accused of molesting an altar boy more than a decade ago, has been allowed to resume his duties because diocesan officials found the claims unsubstantiated.

Monsignor Thomas Mabon, a priest in the Altoona-Johnstown diocese, was barred from functioning publicly as a priest after an April lawsuit in which a Philadelphia man claimed he was molested by the priest while an altar boy at St. Mary's Church in Hollidaysburg from 1988 to 1990.

Darrin Mangiacarne claimed the abuse took place in the priest's changing room and sacristy, where holy objects are kept, and Mabon told him that the abuse "would serve as penance for his confession," according to the lawsuit.

The civil lawsuit does not name Mabon, but the diocese and its current and former bishop, saying too little was done to prevent abuse.

Mabon, who retired two years ago, has denied the allegations.

In a statement, Bishop Joseph Adamec said a church investigation found no reason to continue Mabon's administrative leave.

The diocese, about 80 miles east of Pittsburgh, has been sued by a dozen men and the mother of another man, alleging abuse dating as far back as the 1950s.

Adamec has defended the diocese, saying he and former Bishop James Hogan did what was proper under laws and church guidelines in effect when the allegations surfaced.

The diocese has said in court documents that the suits violate the constitutional separation of church and state and attempt to skirt the two-year statute of limitations by alleging "clergy malpractice," questioning how the diocese disciplined priests.


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