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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?

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An email from a reader alerted me to yet another priest that has been relieved of duties in a parish in the Diocese of Scranton. In a report from the Times Leader, a priest was removed after he attempted to project an informational DVD about the annual diocesan fundraiser on October 25th. Allegedly four photographs of “minimally attired adult males” were displayed.  Bill Genello,   spin master for the Diocese of Scranton, announced that the photos were not pornographic.  Well thank goodness for that!

Father Edward Lyman was removed as administrator of St. Anthony, St. Bridget and St. John the Baptist parishes in Throop, Pennsylvania. The current whereabouts of Father Lyman are unknown.

At some point the parishioners of the Diocese of Scranton need to start demanding accountability from the Diocese. I don’t know what the last straw will be. These people have rallied behind priests that have abused, molested and raped children. They have supported priests with child pornography on church computers and they have tolerated priests that have had inappropriate relationships with adult parishioners. What does it take? I am at a loss.

I would love to see an independent investigation into the Diocese and their policies to determine if the parishioners, particularly the children are safe. The diocese will not take responsible action. It seems that bishop after bishop has failed to take proactive steps to set standards and turn over priests who have violated the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the United States to appropriate authorities.

Local District Attorneys and the U.S. Attorney should look into the continuing saga of sexual crimes against both children and vulnerable adults, fraud and conspiracy to obstruct justice on the part of the Chancery, all the way to the office of the Bishop. (I know the Diocese of Scranton is currently without their own shepherd, I could argue that has been the case for decades…)

I would hope that law enforcement officials got a look at the laptop to determine if child pornography laws were broken before the IT gurus wiped all the evidence from the hard drive. Given the chance, I have no doubt that the diocese will destroy evidence to protect itself.

Where ever Father Lyman is, I hope he has been questioned thoroughly by law enforcement. If no crimes have been committed, I would hope the Diocese takes the appropriate sanctions against this priest if he has violated Diocesan rules. What will probably happen is that this guy will get shuffled to the next unsuspecting parish.

I wonder if Father Lyman is bunking in with Father Timchak, they seem to have a common interest in photography.

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Michael Baumann


Credit: Michael Baumann at "Off My Knees"

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