Diocese of Scranton Priest Suspended Amidst Allegations of Sexual Misconduct

By Matt Hughes
Times Leader
November 16, 2011

A Diocese of Scranton priest who formerly worked at Bishop Hoban High School and churches in Plains, Plymouth and Exeter townships and Hazleton has been suspended amidst allegations of sexual misconduct.

In a statement issued Tuesday, the Diocese said it received an allegation on Monday of sexual misconduct involving Rev. Thomas P. Shoback, who currently serves as pastor at Sacred Heart of Jesus and Mary in Jermyn.

The allegation was reported to have occurred when the accuser, now an adult, was a minor.

The Diocese said it immediately notified the District Attorney's Office in Tioga County, the county where the abuse is reported to have taken place and removed Shoback from ministry pending an investigation of the accusation.

According to the Diocese, Shoback was ordained in 1977 and formerly served as pastor of St. Mary and St. Andrew church in Blossburg, Tioga County. Diocese spokesman William Genello said Shoback was pastor of St. Mary and St. Andrew from February of 1989 until July of 1997.

He also formerly worked at St. Joseph's Parish and Sacred Heart Parish in Plains Township, Holy Redeemer Parish in Exeter Township, St. Joseph's Parish in Hazleton, Nativity BVM in Plymouth Township, Bishop Hoban High School in Wilkes-Barre and parishes in Monroe and Lycoming counties.

Genello said Shoback worked as a teacher at Bishop Hoban from 1984-89.

Genello said the Diocese has received no additional allegations of sexual misconduct involving Shoback and that the Diocese will cooperate fully with authorities.

Shoback's brother, Edward J. Shoback, a former Diocese of Scranton priest who worked for more than 20 years at Luzerne County churches and schools, was suspended in 2004 amid similar allegations of sexual misconduct. Edward Shoback reportedly admitted to those allegations and was defrocked by the Vatican in 2009.


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