Bombshell Report Reveals Sexual Predation Crisis in Seminaries

News: Commentary
by Gene Thomas Gomulka  •  •  September 22, 2021   

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What would you do if your son who was studying to become a priest told you that officials at his seminary failed to discipline an older seminarian who came into his room, closed the door, exposed himself, and wanted your son to perform oral sex on him? How would you feel if the rector dismissed your son from the seminary based on a bogus reason after your son filed a sexual harassment complaint against an abusive seminary superior? Unfortunately, firsthand accounts of seminarians prove that this is happening today in more Catholic seminaries than people can imagine.  

Abp. Christophe Pierre and Patrick Kelly

It is because of cases like these that every U.S. ordinary, the apostolic nuncio, Abp. Christophe Pierre, and the Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus, Patrick Kelly, are all being sent or legally served a copy of an unprecedented 77-page report entitled, "Addressing the Present-Day Culture of Sexual Predation and Cover-Ups in U.S. Seminaries" that is accompanied by a 171-page appendix.

The 248-page report, authored by an experienced former seminary formator, outlines findings of an 18-month independent investigation into the prevalence of sexual predation and homosexual misconduct in seminaries and its concealment by seminary and Church leadership.

The report identifies sexual misconduct, retaliation and cover-up alleged to have been perpetrated in more than 40 seminaries and dioceses in recent years. It also names scores of seminary leaders and prelates who have been accused of participating in misconduct, cover-ups or retaliation against seminarians.

Contained in the report are affidavits from a former FBI special agent in charge (SAC); a subject of sexual misconduct by North American College (NAC) vice rector, Fr. Adam Park; and a seminary formator who all confirm that the allegations that New York cardinal Timothy Dolan and NAC officials are currently facing in a major lawsuit are part of a more pervasive trend in numerous U.S. seminaries. 

The sexual predation suffered by seminarians is not 'an issue of the past,' but an ongoing problem in the present.

Among the report's conclusions are:

These conclusions are confirmed not only by shocking statistics, but also by heartrending firsthand graphic accounts from seminarians similar to those provided by victims in the 2018 Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report.

Fr. Adam Park and Fr. Peter Harman

The seminaries report also cracks the code of Church cover-up techniques and probes issues about which the bishops have not been transparent, such as:

In 2002, The Boston Globe's Spotlight investigators discovered that clerical abuse of minors was far more widespread than ever imagined. In 2021, this groundbreaking report shows that a lawsuit against NAC seminary officials and Cdl. Dolan has the potential to empower victimized seminarians and priests across the country who until now have been silent.

An increasing number of abuse victims today are seminarians and young priests whose victimization has been ignored by both Church leaders and the media.

Since the filing of explosive June 2021 affidavits against Dolan and the NAC, which are contained in the report, the NAC vice rector, Washington, D.C. priest, Fr. Adam Park, abruptly relinquished his post amid allegations of sexual predation. The NAC rector, Illinois priest Fr. Peter Harman, stands accused of engaging in anal sex and other graphic acts at a gay orgy with then-Springfield bishop George Lucas.

Harman is also alleged to have abused his position as rector to bury reports he received about Park's sexual misconduct and to retaliate against seminarians who were not complicit with Park's predatory behavior. The allegations, found entirely credible by a former FBI SAC, were examined in detail in Church Militant's Spotlight report: "Illinois Orgy—The Rome Connection."

Spotlight: Illinois Orgy—The Rome Connection

Over 30 U.S. and Vatican bishops are named in the independent investigation's findings as having failed to act upon no less than seven damning reports informing them of sexual harassment and misconduct by NAC officials. 

Vatican and U.S. bishops ignored the concerns expressed in Dominican Fr. Thomas Doyle's 1985 co-authored report, "The Problem of Sexual Molestation by Roman Catholic Clergy: Meeting the Problem in a Comprehensive and Responsible Manner." This omission has since caused the suffering of tens of thousands of abuse victims and over $4 billion in lawsuits. But Church officials and Knights of Columbus leadership will not be able to claim that they were not informed about the problem of sexual predation and homosexual misconduct in seminaries. The problem is on track to increase.

Just as the late Richard Sipe posted online his 2008 letter to Pope Benedict XVI about ex-cardinal Theodore McCarrick and other predator prelates, so too the seminaries report has been released to the public. The appendix, which includes documentation supporting the lawsuit of Anthony J. Gorgia v. Timothy Dolan et al. and a record of reports Church officials and the Knights of Columbus received concerning the allegations against Cardinal Dolan and NAC officials, may be accessed here. Readers who prefer an executive summary of the report may wish to view the video "Bombshell Report Reveals Ongoing Sexual Predation Crisis in Catholic Seminaries."

The public nature of this report not only educates the faithful about present-day risks to vocations, but it also furnishes them proof that their leaders were informed and called upon to address the Church's ongoing struggle with sexual abuse and cover-up in seminaries.

Anyone wishing to support the legal effort to apply protections to vulnerable seminarians may contribute to the Save Our Seminarians Fund.

Gene Thomas Gomulka is a victims abuse advocate, investigative reporter and retired Navy captain/chaplain. A Catholic priest (monsignor) ordained for the Pennsylvania Altoona-Johnstown diocese, Gomulka was a victim of reprisals for confronting Church leaders who underreported and covered up abuse.
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