Letter to Bishop Arthur Serratelli Regarding Rev. George Costigan
[Note: This letter was provided to BishopAccountability.org by Patricia
who references information and documents linked in Costigan's
The author also provided a copy of Serratelli's reply.]
October 5, 2006
I write this letter to you in search of answers and to express concerns.
My name is Patricia Clancy and I was emotionally, physically and sexually
violated and raped as a child between the ages of eight and fifteen by
George Costigan, a priest in your diocese. There are correspondences that
transpired between myself and Thomas Zazella that I trust you can access
your files. The last contact that I had with your diocese was in 1996.
1999, I was told by someone, not an individual in your diocese, that George
Costigan was dead. For years, I had no reason to believe otherwise.
Recently, I've discovered that George Costigan is not dead. This discovery
has resulted in many feelings and questions and concerns for me. At this
time I request answers to questions and I want to express my concerns.
I was told by Thomas Zazella that George Costigan retired in 1994, after
disclosed the sexual abuse perpetrated upon me by George Costigan. Question:
Did your diocese disclose to local civil authorities my allegations of
sexual abuse that came to your attention in 1993? If so, what were the
results? In 1994 and in 1996 I was assured that George Costigan was not
ministry of any kind. I was told that he would not be allowed to
celebrate any of the sacraments; but, it seems from the public record
George Costigan is still active in ministry. Question: Why was George
Costigan allowed to travel to Lourdes and to Puentenansa, Spain in 2002?
article was written regarding a "miracle" that occurred for
in Puentenansa in 2002. Public records verify this. In this record George
Costigan had access to a young girl. Public records also verify that he
in Puentenansa, Spain for two years (2002-2004). Why is that? Did he
perform any duties as a priest? Question: Why was he on temporary
assignment in Huntsville, Alabama this past year helping the victims of
Katrina? What exactly does that mean? Question: Why is George Costigan
today in residence next door to a retreat facility that is used by children?
George Costigan is a known child molester and rapist. Your diocese is
of a credible allegation lodged by me. George Costigan's record from 1952
until 1993, both as a Christian Brother and as a priest, illustrates curious
and disturbing assignments. He was frequently reassigned to his Christian
Brother provincialate house in Maryland after assignments where he had
access to vulnerable children while a Christian Brother. Later, after
one year as a priest, he was assigned as a hospital chaplain in Dover,
Jersey for the duration of his nineteen years in "active" ministry
priest. Such a record, as I know that you're aware, strongly suggests
there were problems regarding his pastoral abilities. Also, his seminarian
training is not of a traditional nature. All of this concerns me.
Documented incidents concern me. I was told in 1994 that George Costigan
was put on retirement status with specific directives from your office
he not be permitted to perform any functions publicly as a priest. As
documented in the correspondences from me, George Costigan celebrated
at St. Cyril's church in Lansdowne, PA shortly after being told not to
your office. Subsequently, he contacted both my mother and father after
being forbidden by your office to have contact with my family. He neglected
to report to his superiors after being told to do so in 1993. In 1994,
traveled to Lourdes, France and Puentenansa, Spain. In Puentenansa he
alone in the company of a "girl of five or six years old." (See
George Costigan began abusing me when I was eight years old. The fact
he was alone in the company of a young girl is of grave concern. Was he
told by your office to stay away from young girls? George Costigan was
Puentenansa, Spain from 2002-2004. How did he support himself? Was he
performing priestly functions? The argument that your diocese or office
no control over another jurisdiction is, at the very least, irresponsible,
and, at the very most, criminal. Allowing a known rapist to travel to
another country unsupervised for two years is unconscionable.
Temporary assignment to Huntsville, Alabama this past year indicates
is in active ministry. Victims of Hurricane Katrina are vulnerable. George
Costigan took advantage of me when I was vulnerable. It is both frightening
and infuriating that he was given permission to be in the midst of
individuals at risk.
Today, George Costigan resides in a place that is in very close proximity
children. He is a convent chaplain to the Felician sisters who run a youth
retreat house next door. This, too, is unconscionable and inconsistent
your Charter for the Protection of Children and Youth.
In addition to requesting a written response from you regarding these
questions and concerns, I am also requesting an opportunity to meet with
in person to discuss these issues.
Patricia M. Clancy
[phone number redacted]