Defrocked Pedophile Priest Hid from His Past in Oak Lawn Apartment

By Jason Heid
D Magazine
January 29, 2014

James Brzyski a priest who was defrocked due to his sexual abuse of 17 boys in Philadelphia in the 1970s and 1980s. Until last month he was living in an apartment complex in Oak Lawn.

At first his neighbors accepted his backstory of being a friendly retired Xerox employee when he moved there in October 2012, but they became suspicious after they saw him playing with young boys in the pool. He also bragged to them about going online to find males who looked underage, and that he liked “fat boys.”

When they looked into his history, they discovered the horrifying truth, and they’re upset that he could move into their community without their being notified of his past or his having to register as a sex offender. When they confronted Brzyski, he didn’t demonstrate remorse, commenting only that he had himself been abused by priests when he was younger, so that he thought it was OK.

David Clohessy, national director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said Brzyski is among a diaspora of unregistered sex offenders unleashed by the Roman Catholic Church since 2002. Few safeguards prevent the former priests from abusing again.

“The reason these guys are walking free is because church officials shielded them. Were it not for the actions of the church hierarchy, many of these guys would be in jail,” Clohessy said. “I think that increases the moral and civic duty of bishops to say more than, ‘Well, he’s not in the diocese anymore.’ “

Philadelphia Archdiocese spokesman Kenneth Gavin said the Archdiocese maintains current addresses for sex-offender priests who receive a pension and tries to keep track of those who, like Brzyski, are not receiving a pension.

“Like any other organization, we do not release that type of personal information publicly,” Gavin said.

Brzyski’s new home address is unknown.


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