Reaction to Sex Abuse Allegations against Priest

By Sofia Ojeda
November 16, 2011,0,767992.story

[with video]

Parishioners are devastated over news that a priest in Lackawanna County is accused of sexually abusing a child.

The Roman Catholic priest was removed from preaching at a church in Jermyn earlier this week.

It's all too familiar in the news these days, some folks say, to hear of alleged sexual abuse by people you're supposed to trust.

"I think it's really sad, especially when it's a priest because they take their vows," said June Smith of Peckville.

This week, a Roman Catholic priest, Father Thomas Shoback, was removed from ministry at Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary Church in Jermyn.

Diocese of Scranton officials said his duties were suspended after they learned he allegedly sexually assaulted a minor more than a decade ago.

Officials said the abuse happened when Shoback was a priest at St. Mary and St. Andrew Church in Blossburg, Tioga County.

"It's just so sad for these young boys that have gone through that,"said Smith.

Those who worship at Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary Church and know Father Shoback, said they are shocked to hear the allegations and hope they are not true.

"I'm devastated you know, but I believe the man is innocent. I cannot believe that he has done something like that, because I don't rush to judgement, I don't judge people," said Edward Vandevort of Jermyn.

In a written statement, the Diocese of Scranton said the allegations are under investigation.

Officials also asked anyone who has been sexually assaulted by a priest to immediately contact authorities and the Diocese of Scranton.

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