Former Back Mountain Priest Removed after Sexual Misconduct Accusations

Citizens Voice
October 27, 2011

Vatican officials say a priest accused of sexual misconduct must be permanently removed from the ministry, the Diocese of Scranton announced Wednesday.

Monsignor J. Peter Crynes, former pastor of St. Therese's Catholic Church in Shavertown, will be relegated to a life of prayer and penance, according to a decision by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

The Congregation instructed the Most Rev. Joseph C. Bambera, Bishop of the Scranton Diocese, to issue a decree imposing the permanent penalty.

Crynes is forbidden to celebrate Mass, administer the sacraments, wear clerical garb or present himself publicly as a priest, and he is expected to dedicate his life to praying for victims and repenting of his past offenses, Dan Gallagher, manager of community affairs for the Diocese of Scranton, stated in a media release.

Crynes, a Scranton native, was ordained in 1967 and named monsignor in 1998. His assignments included as assistant pastor at Holy Rosary Church in Scranton, assistant pastor of St. Patrick Church in White Haven and administrator and pastor of Corpus Christi Church in Montdale. He was also assistant director of Camp St. Andrew; director of Our Lady of Fatima Retreat Center; professor at St. Pius X Seminary and a director of Bishop Hannan High School.

Crynes was named pastor of St. Therese's Church in 1994, where he was popular with parishioners.

When Crynes resigned and was removed from active ministry in May 2006 after two women from one of his previous parishes accused him of sexual misconduct, the congregation responded with disbelief and circulated a petition to the diocese asking to allow him to remain.

In an August 2006 letter to St. Therese's parishioners, Bambera's predecessor, Joseph Martino, stated Crynes "admitted to the Diocese of Scranton that he had engaged in unchaste behavior in the past with high school girls."

The diocese performed an internal investigation, then sent the matter to the Holy See for a determination.

Gallagher said the diocese directs anyone who has been sexually abused by a member of the clergy or anyone else to immediately notify local law enforcement authorities.

Victims are also encouraged to contact Joan Holmes, Diocesan Victims Assistance Coordinator, at 570-344-5216; or diocesan officials such as the Rev. Thomas Muldowney, Episcopal Vicar for Clergy, or Teresa Osborne, chancellor, at 570-207-2216.

We welcome user discussion on our site, under the following guidelines:

To comment you must first create a profile and sign-in with a verified DISQUS account or social network ID. Sign up here.

Comments in violation of the rules will be denied, and repeat violators will be banned. Please help police the community by flagging offensive comments for our moderators to review. By posting a comment, you agree to our full terms and conditions. Click here to read terms and conditions.


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