“i Know (and Knew) Fr. Robert Harrison, Capuchin Franciscan”

Road to Recovery
January 9, 2015

New York City: We will leaflet outside Holy Cross Church on 42nd Street between 8th and 9th Avenues tomorrow from 4:00 PM until 5:45 PM where Fr. Robert Harrison served as a weekend assistant for a few years.

(Fr. Robert Harrison has allegedly admitted to sexually abusing several children)


From 1979-1981, I was stationed as an Irish Christian Brother at Rice High School in Central Harlem, New York City. In my second year there, I was the junior varsity basketball coach. It was during this time that I came in contact with Rev. Robert Harrison, a Capuchin Franciscan friar from Milwaukee who was a civil attorney employed by the City of New York. Fr. Robert Harrison allegedly has admitted to sexually abusing several children.

Fr. Robert Harrison was living around 1980 at the Pierre Toussaint Residence, a facility located on the border of Harlem and Washington Heights. The Pierre Toussaint Residence housed young African-American men who were considering the priesthood. It was sponsored by the Archdiocese of New York.

Fr. Robert Harrison offered to help coach the junior varsity team at Rice High School and began his own basketball program in Harlem for area teenagers. Fr. Robert Harrison’s interest in basketball was interesting because his demeanor and personality were not particularly “athletic.”

When I was transferred to Boston in 1981, I lost touch with Fr. Robert Harrison, but we reconnected in 1985 when I returned to New York City to complete my doctoral studies at Fordham University at Lincoln Center and was living at the Christian Brothers residence in Hell’s Kitchen. Fr. Robert Harrison had become either pastor or administrator of St. Charles Borromeo Parish in Harlem but was not well received by the parishioners.

In or around 1989, Fr. Robert Harrison was removed from St. Charles Borromeo Parish and was hired at Cardinal Hayes High School in the Bronx where he taught and worked his way into the basketball program, eventually becoming coach of the junior varsity team. I ran into him at various athletic and religious events in New York City during this time.

In 1989, I became Principal of Sacred Heart High School in Yonkers, NY, and our athletic teams participated in the CHSAA (Catholic High School Athletic Association) of the Archdiocese of New York. In addition, I was a basketball referee in the CHSAA and officiated many contests involving Cardinal Hayes High School. I often ran into Fr. Robert Harrison at basketball games throughout the Archdiocese.

I am concerned that one or more of the Rice High School basketball players whom I coached and taught could have been harmed by Fr. Robert Harrison. Fr. Harrison was friendly with some of those players, and he recruited some of them to play on his private traveling team.

Since 1989 and until recently when he was removed, Fr. Robert Harrison was stationed at Cardinal Hayes High School in the Bronx where he came across thousands of teenage boys, primarily African-American and Hispanic. In addition, Fr. Robert Harrison lived in the Cardinal Hayes building, enabling him to give access to students to his private quarters in the building.

Road to Recovery, Inc. is a non-profit charity based in New Jersey that assists victims of sexual abuse and their families. We welcome any and all sexual abuse victims of Fr. Robert Harrison to contact us and begin to heal from the effects of sexual abuse. All information will be held confidentially.

Robert M. Hoatson, Ph.D. - Co-founder and President

Road to Recovery, Inc.- P.O. Box 279 - Livingston, NJ 07039









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