Priest Relieved of Duties
A Clergyman Who Recently Admitted to Sexual Misconduct Served in Luzerne County

By Mark Guydish
Wilkes Barre Times Leader
July 27, 2004

SCRANTON - A priest who recently admitted to sexual misconduct with a minor served in Luzerne County for two decades in churches in Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne and West Hazleton during the time of the misconduct.

The Very Rev. Edward J. Shoback was relieved of all ministerial duties after the misconduct was alleged. The misconduct occurred "more than 20 years ago," said Diocese of Scranton spokeswoman Maria Orzel. Shoback cannot publicly wear priestly garb, celebrate Mass or administer sacraments.

Because Shoback, 62, admitted to the misconduct, the ban is permanent. Orzel would not give any details of the incident. The matter has been turned over to the Luzerne County District Attorney's Office. Late Monday afternoon, the office's spokeswoman, Carol Crane, said detectives had just started looking into the incident and no information was available.

Orzel did provide Shoback's history since his ordination in 1967. Though he was pastor at SS. Peter and Paul Church in West Scranton since 1989, he served at Luzerne County churches through almost all of his earlier career.

Shoback initially was made assistant pastor at St. Ann's in Shohola, Pike County, but moved a few months later to an assistant pastor post at St. Stephen's in Plymouth. A year later he went to Holy Rosary in Ashley.

From September 1971 to September 1973 he was director of religious formation at West Side Central Catholic High School in Kingston. For much of that time he lived at St. Therese's Church in Wilkes-Barre.

In September 1974 he became assistant pastor at St. Aloysius in Wilkes-Barre. In December 1980 he became pastor at St. John's in Luzerne, which has since merged with two other parishes under the name of Holy Family Parish. He served as pastor of Transfiguration Church in West Hazleton from 1987 to 1989.

Orzel provided a written statement that said "This is, indeed, a sad moment for the Diocese of Scranton - one which is being taken most seriously. The pastoral care of all victims of clerical sexual abuse is our utmost priority. Prevention of such incidents remains our principal goal, as we seek to protect the safety and welfare of children and young people.

"At the same time, we support the good works, dedication and commitment of all our faithful priests who continue their daily labors even while troubled by such conduct and its resultant harm."



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