Erie nuns set up hotline in light of abuse revelation

By Ed Palattella
Go Erie
October 30, 2018

Sisters of St. Joseph of Northwestern Pennsylvania on Monday said the late Sister Mary Carmel Skeabeck sexually abused a student at Villa Maria Academy in the late 1950s.

The Sisters of St. Joseph of Northwestern Pennsylvania have set up a hotline to take calls about child sexual abuse following Monday’s disclosure that a nun was found to have sexually abused a student at Villa Maria Academy in Erie in the late 1950s.

The hotline number is 814-452-8903. Callers can also be directed for counseling by calling the hotline, the sisters said.

The hotline has a customized message to let callers know that they have reached the number for reporting abuse and for getting victims’ assistance, a spokeswoman for the sisters said on Tuesday.

The sisters on Monday reported that an investigation determined that Sister Mary Carmel Skeabeck, who died in 2015 at 91, sexually abused a student numerous times in the late 1950s at the all-girls Villa Maria Academy. Skeabeck taught there in 1958-59.

The sisters said the investigation, which the religious order commissioned, started in May after the order received a complaint about Skeabeck.

The disclosure of the abuse led the Catholic Diocese of Erie on Monday to include Skeabeck on its updated list of clergy and laypeople credibly accused of child sexual abuse or other improper behavior with minors since the 1940s. Skeabeck is the only nun on the 76-person list, which Bishop Lawrence Persico first released in April.

The Sisters of St. Joseph encourage anyone with information about Skeabeck or about abuse by anyone else, including other members of the order, to contact the hotline or other agencies. The agencies include:

• The Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General’s Clergy Abuse Hotline, 888-538-8541.

• K&L Gates, of Pittsburgh, the independent law firm and investigators retained by the Sisters of St. Joseph,

• ChildLine (to report current abuse of a child), 800-932-0313.


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