Chesco Pastor Removed over 1970s Abuse Case

By Craig R. McCoy
Philadelphia Inquirer [Pennsylvania]
July 4, 2006

The pastor of a Catholic parish in Chester County was removed by church officials last week after they concluded he had abused a child while teaching at Roman Catholic High School in Philadelphia in the 1970s.

The Rev. John F. Hummell, 66, was ordered to step down at Sacred Heart Parish in Oxford, and banned from serving anywhere as a priest. Hummell has denied the allegation. He will not talk to reporters, a church spokeswoman said yesterday.

The archdiocese took action, officials said, after a 10-month investigation of an allegation received in October. In a statement, the church provided no details of the case against Hummell beyond saying the inquiry had taken months because the allegation was "particularly complex."

The complaint against Hummell came one month after a Philadelphia grand jury issued a scathing report accusing the archdiocese of a decades-long coverup of extensive abuse by scores of priests.

Hummell was told Thursday that he was out. A regional vicar informed Hummell's parishioners of the action at weekend services. Hummell has left the parish, church officials said.

For now, the Rev. David E. Diamond, academic dean at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, will serve as administrator of the Sacred Heart parish, according to a church statement.

The archdiocese now plans to contact church authorities in Rome for further disciplinary procedures against Hummell. Police immediately were alerted to the allegations, the archdiocese said.

After he was ordained in 1965, Hummell served in numerous parishes, including St. Cecilia in Coatesville; SS. Simon and Jude in West Chester; St. Gabriel in Norwood; and Corpus Christi, St. Callistus and St. Dominic, all in Philadelphia.

Besides teaching at Roman Catholic, he taught at Bishop McDevitt High School and was an adjunct faculty member in the physics department at St. Joseph's University.

He lived at these parishes: St. Aloysius and Epiphany of our Lord in Philadelphia, St. Joseph in Cheltenham, St. John of the Cross in Roslyn, and Seven Dolors in Wyndmoor.

Contact staff writer Craig R. McCoy at 215-854-4821 or


Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.