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I have been off the grid for about a week. I am just catching up with the news and my email and I was startled to find out that Teresa Osborne, the Chancellor of the Diocese of Scranton was injured in a serious automobile accident on 23 July.
I wanted to send out my best wishes for a full recovery. While the employer of Ms. Osborne and I do not see eye to eye, I do not wish anyone in the Diocese ill and I certainly don’t want to see anyone have to endure serious injury.
For those of you who find comfort in prayer, please keep her in yours. For those of us that don’t, a little love and light in her direction can’t hurt.
An article in the Scranton Times-Tribune online follows up on the story of Carlos Urrutigoiry and his elevation to a position of authority over priests accused of misconduct in a Catholic Diocese in Paraguay.
The National Director of SNAP, David Chlohessy, is demanding the Diocese release the files on the Urrutigoiry and the events that occurred at St. Gregory’s Academy in Elmhurst, a residential school sponsored by the Society of St. John, a religious order. Urrutigoiry was credibly accused of sleeping with teenage boys as part of his “ministry”.
It will come as no surprise that the Diocese of Scranton will take no action and that the National Director of SNAP will move on to another press release/photo opportunity. The dance continues and yet no progress is made.
Returning from an event in Northern Virgina, I decided to call the Diocese of Scranton and get confirmation that Robert Gibson had died. I identified myself and asked for the office that could help me confirm that a priest, formerly of the Diocese, had passed away. I was transferred to another office and, once again, I identified myself and request confirmation that Robert Gibson had died. After a pause, the woman’s voice changed and she told me that she would not discuss the matter with me. I asked for her name and she hung up on me.
Not too long ago I had been assured by the Chancellor that I would be notified of his death. Apparently that was another hollow promise. Shocking!
This morning, after the call to the diocese that was terminated abruptly by a diocesan employee, I sent a note to the Victim’s Assistance Coordinator, I received a terse response from the Diocese:
Please be advised that Robert Gibson died on Sunday, May 27, 2012.
DIOCESE OF SCRANTON
Chancellor and Chief Operating Officer
Phone: 570-207-2216 Fax: 570-207-2236
It is amazing to me that this organization could not even grant me a confirmation of his death without behaving badly. For them, there must be relief that he is passed and the mistaken impression that this is over.
Can someone,(Bishop Bambera), explain to me why his staff is openly hostile to victims of priests that served in his diocese? Can someone perhaps teach a little compassion. For the record, I identified myself and spoke in a courteous manner to the woman on the phone who refused to identify herself. Perhaps the Bishop should, at a minimum, have his staff trained in proper phone etiquette.
But I do have confirmation. The Diocese still doesn’t get it. It really is time for Pennsylvania to change the law and allow all the victims to seek to bring the coverup committed by the Diocese of Scranton into the light.
Just for the record, Robert J. Gibson’s Parish assignment history is located at this hotlink.
Four. That is the number of victims of Father Robert Gibson to which the Diocese of Scranton has stipulated. Four.
I don’t get it. I cannot believe that the Diocese of Scranton continues to stubbornly stick to that number. I have corresponded with survivors, family members of survivors, classmates of survivors, as well as friends. I have spoken to officials at Notre Dame High School. The number grows a little higher every time I get an indication that someone is looking for Gibson on Google. Sometimes an email arrives a few days later, sometimes a comment appears. The number I have is Fourteen. Of course, I have names to go with the digits. That is still a very low number. Given the number of parishes, schools and camps he had access to and the number of years in his predatory prime, this man probably had victims that numbered in the hundreds. He probably tried to groom or isolate more than that. This man was prolific in his criminal sexual behavior against minors. Against children!
Four? I think not! And the Diocese of Scranton knows it. Someone in the diocese has access to his “secret” files. Someone can go in and get a feel for how many complaints were submitted. I bet the vast, overwhelming majority of those were covered up. Someone knows about the settlements and the confidentiality agreements that had everything to do with protecting the Bishop and the Diocese and nothing to do with protecting children, searching for victims and getting Gibson out of ministry and into the hands of the criminal justice system. I know of one, the survivor told me himself.
Someone in the Diocese of Scranton has the names of other victims. The Victim’s Assistance Coordinator gave me a name of another victim along with his contact information. (Not the one I alluded to in the previous paragraph.)
I have responded to emails, phone calls and blog comments from classmates of mine, from classmates of my siblings, from siblings of other potential survivors and from parents of Gibson’s other targets.
The magic number is not FOUR. The Bishop of Scranton needs to come clean, now. Not only on Robert Gibson, but on at least TWENTY-FIVE identified Catholic Priests and lay officials of the diocese that have credible allegations of criminal sexual assault on boys, girls and vulnerable adults. Former Bishops have covered up and moved these monsters around the diocese allowing them access to fresh pools of potential victims. The Bishops, only concerned with keeping allegations quiet and victims isolated, showed a reckless disregard for the safety and wellbeing of children in the diocese by moving Gibson and other monsters just like him from parish to parish. And when the heat was too much, they moved Gibson to Missouri. They put him in a Catholic “safe house”. He is still there in Missouri, outside of the jurisdiction that could have tried him for the rapes and sexual assaults he committed over his career.
Just as a recap from a post I did in October 2008, Robert Gibson’s history of assignments:
1959-65 Scranton, PA St. Paul, 1510 Penn Ave. Priests: John J. Vaughan(Vicar Forane, Dean), Joseph F. Ryan, Joseph R. Doggett(’59), Francis A. Conlan(’60-62), Robert J. Gibson
School: 7 Sisters of the I.H.M. 1 lay teacher 484 pupils High school: 10 Sisters of the I.H.M. 280 pupils
Mission: St. Clare’s School: Sisters of the I.H.M. 7 Lay teacher 1 2215 Washington Ave. 401 pupils.
1966-67 directory not available (
1968-1970 Stroudsburg, PA St. Matthew’s, 200 Brodhead Ave. Priests: Thomas J. Cawley,Robert J. Gibson, John J. Bendik
St Matthews School: 7 Sisters I.H.M. 2 lay teachers 311 pupils Missions: St. Luke’s, Stroudsburg; St. John’s, Bushkill; St. Mark’s, Delaware Water Gap
1971-1974 Stroudsburg, PA St. Luke’s, 906 Main St. Priests: Francis G. Barrett, Robert J. Gibson In residence: John J. Bendik Mission: St. Mark’s, Delaware Water Gap.
St Matthews School, East Stroudsburg, Notre Dame Junior/Senior High School.
1975-82 Brodheadsville, PA Our Lady Queen of Peace Church Priest: Robert J. Gibson
Mission: Jonas, Holy Family.
School: Still associated with St. Matthew’s and Notre Dame
1983 Conyngham, PA St. John Bosco Priest: Robert J. Gibson
1984-95 Canadensis, PA St. Bernadette Church Priest: Robert J. Gibson
Mission: Promised Land, Our Lady of Fatima
1996 -1997 Kingston, PA St. Ignatius, 339 N. Maple Ave. Priests: F. Allan Conlan, Glenn E. McGreary, Joseph B. Wilson In res., Robert J. Gibson Chapel—St. Ann’s
1998-2008 Unassigned or leave of absence. In the case of Fr. Gibson, he was sequestered in the Vianney Renewal Center in Dittmer, Missouri and now is reported to be in a hospital in the Ditmer area. The report is from the Diocese. I do not put much stock in the word of the Diocesan spokespeople, they seem to be accomplished liars.
The latest contact was from a family member of a probable victim of Gibson. He came after me on the timeline. I can’t help but feel a little responsible. I didn’t stop him. I didn’t kill him when I had the opportunity. I didn’t turn him in, he had me completely terrorized. I know intellectually that it was not my fault. But the voice in my head hasn’t processed that yet.
Postscript: My middle son is one of the most brilliant minds I have ever known (from his mom’s end of the gene pool). He was counting on his hands as my oldest son’s “love interest” was quizing him on the classic movies he should be familiar with as a modern, well healed male in the 21st century. He was counting off the movies he had seen from her extensive list in binary (his world seems to spin on a slightly different axis, and that makes him a force of nature).
When he got to 4 I started laughing. If you are as smart as he, you know what finger “4” is on when counting in Binary. That knowledge in hand, so to speak, I would like to offer something to the Diocese of Sranton. I got your “four” right here.
The Diocese of Scranton has reassigned a priest removed from his previous assignment for accidentally displaying questionable photographs of men at a Church event. According to 13 May 2010 edition of The Catholic Light, the newspaper for the Diocese of Scranton, announced (on page 3) that Reverend Edward Lyman has been assigned as “Senior Priest” “from Leave of Absence for reasons of health”, to Holy Name/Saint Mary and Holy Trinity Parishes, Swoyersville, Pennsylvania effective April 28, 2010.
Father Lyman had been previously assigned as administrator of St. Anthony, St. Bridget and St. John the Baptist parishes in Throop. According to an article in the Scranton Times Tribune, Father Lyman was removed after he displayed inappropriate, although not pornographic, photos while trying to set up a DVD related to the Diocese’s fund-raising efforts. The photos were displayed at St Bridget’s church before 8 a.m. mass on October 25, 2009.
The diocese, which has used the “absence for reasons of health” line before in cases where inappropriate or sexual misconduct was discovered, has seemingly reinstated this man to a position where he will be able to have close, personal contact with children.
Once again, the Diocese of Scranton has played a waiting game and hoped that no one would notice it has returned a priest very questionable behavior back in the line of duty. Do you need more proof of how seriously the Diocese takes cases of sexual misconduct?
Only a few days after the announcement that Monsignor Bambera will take over as Bishop of Scranton, a sighting of the son of God has been made in a bucket of pizza sauce. Really, I can’t make this stuff up. If the above link does not work, read on! I have pasted the text of the article by JEREMY G. BURTON, a staff writer at the paper. Enjoy!
When Mary Louise Salerno saw Jesus Christ in a bucket of pizza sauce, her instinct was not to alert the media or even to tell many friends.
She did not want people descending on her family’s West Scranton pizzeria, and she did not want to invite critics or doubters of what she felt was a clear sign.
“To us, it was something special,” Ms. Salerno, 65, of Old Forge said. “God smiled on us that day.”
The image of Jesus has a history of unexpected appearances, from rocks and windows to medical X-rays and a tortilla. Add to that a sauce bucket at Brownie’s Famous Pizzeria, a long-standing eatery on Luzerne Street. It happened on the first Friday of Lent.
Ms. Salerno was at Brownie’s and talking with her granddaughter, 23-year-old Jackie Krouchick, while she made a pizza. Her granddaughter is a single mother who she said is struggling through tough times. Ms. Krouchick told her grandmother she worried she was losing her faith.
As Ms. Salerno poured tomato sauce from a white plastic bucket, she urged her granddaughter to keep believing. That is when she saw it, the image of a man with long hair and a beard in the leftover sauce.
Bill Salerno, the owner of Brownie’s and brother of Ms. Salerno, said he was skeptical until he saw it for himself. Maryann Marsico, who works at Brownie’s, said even an atheist would find it unmistakable.
“My 2-year-old grandson knows who it was. … He just looked at it and said, ‘That’s Papa Jesus,’ ” Ms. Marsico said.
It was not lost on Ms. Marsico that Jesus appeared at Brownie’s at the start of Lent, a holy Christian time that also happens to spur pizza sales because observers are not supposed to eat meat on Fridays.
“I will never cheat and eat meat again,” she said.
The bucket was placed in a cooler for a while, and a family friend insisted on taking a video of the image, which was posted on YouTube. On Wednesday, though, Brownie’s washed the bucket out with Ms. Salerno’s permission.
The message had been delivered, she said, and she did not want the image of her Lord “just sitting there in a pizza place.”
Mr. Salerno, 55 and also from Old Forge, said he is not a churchgoing man but he is religious, and seeing Jesus on that pizza sauce bucket was all the proof he needs.
“Jesus is everywhere, even in a little pizzeria in West Side,” he said.