Catholic Priest

Arthur Long

Ordained: 1965
Diocese: Diocese of Harrisburg

From Report I of the 40th Statewide Investigating Grand Jury for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania:

Father Arthur Long was a Jesuit Priest assigned to ministry within the Diocese of Harrisburg.  Long was ordained in 1955 as a member of a Catholic religious order, the Maryland Province Society of Jesus.   The Grand Jury highlights Long’s case as an example of another common observation in the course of its investigation—misconduct by religious order priests.

There are over one hundred Catholic religious orders and related sub-groups throughout the world.  Many operate within the United States.  In the Roman Catholic Church, these entities are often referred to as “religious institutes.”  A religious institute is “a society or group which commit to and pronounce public vows which they share in common with the members of their order or group.”  These organizations are often founded upon the teachings of a particular individual.  By way of example, the Franciscan Friars are followers of Saint Francis of Assisi whereas the Ordo Sancti Benedicti, or the Benedictines, follow the teachings of Saint Benedict. There is a lengthy list of similar organizations.

The vows of a religious order priest often include things such as a commitment to living a life of poverty, a promise of chastity, or service within the mission of the order. The headquarters of an order may be within the United States or in another location. The head of the religious order is often called the Superior.  With the permission of the Superior and the acquiescence of a Diocesan bishop, an order friar or priest is assigned ministry within a particular diocese.  In any case, an individual can be removed from ministry by his superior for any reason or a bishop may rescind authorization to minister within his respective diocese.

The Grand Jury finds that record-keeping regarding order members was sporadic, often lacked detail, and was inconsistently maintained.  Records related to an order’s priests are usually maintained by the religious order.  However, in some cases a diocese may create their own additional records relative to the order priest’s service within their diocese.  This was the case of the Diocese of Harrisburg and Arthur Long, where the Diocese maintained some records primarily related to a specific complaint against Long.

Long obtained the permission of his superior, as well as the approval of Harrisburg Bishop Joseph T. Daley, to serve within the Diocese at some point prior to November 27, 1974. Diocesan records indicated that Long’s service within the Diocese included a November 1974 assignment as chaplain at the Harrisburg Polyclinic Hospital.

The Diocese recorded complaints against Long in a letter from Overbaugh to Long’s superior, Frank A. Nugent, on August 11, 1987. Overbaugh noted that “while this documentation contains numerous complaints, we seldom if ever receive word of all the good which Father Long accomplished during his years at the Geisinger Medical Center and for which we in the Diocese of Harrisburg are grateful.” Overbaugh was vague in detailing the complaints but noted that, since Long’s time in Danville, he had been doing little more than saying Mass at the Motherhouse of the Sisters of Saints Cyril and Methodius.  Overbaugh’s letter indicated that “Sister Raymund,” the General Superior of the Sisters of Saints Cyril and Methodius, was displeased with Long’s presence there.  Overbaugh wrote, “Sister Raymund wishes Father Long to be out of the home, certainly before the high school girls return to the Academy in the near future.”

The Motherhouse of the Sisters of Saints Cyril and Methodius was associated with an academy for school-aged girls.  Father David McAndrew of St. Joseph Church in Danville wrote a statement in November 1987 to Diocesan officials.  McAndrew reported that a 21-year-old female and an 18-year-old female had approached him with concerns regarding Long. McAndrew wrote, “[REDACTED] said Father Long sought to have sex with her four years ago when she was

17 years old.  [REDACTED] refused his advances.”  McAndrew continued, “In conversation Father Long admitted to [REDACTED] that he has had sexual relationships with ‘four or five’ girls since he was stationed in Baltimore.   Father Long told [REDACTED] ‘God wants us to express our love for each other in this [sexual] way.’  When, in response, [REDACTED] told him the Bible warns that such conduct will be punished by God, Father Long said, ‘there is no hell.’”

McAndrew’s letter noted that the victim had been warned when she was six or seven years old to “never play in Father Long’s yard.” The conclusion of McAndrew’s letter identified another victim who is believed to have come into contact with Long when she was 13 years old.  His statement recorded, “they were involved sexually.”  Attached to McAndrew’s two-page letter is an “assessment” of the women who reported Long’s conduct.  McAndrew concluded that he had “no doubt” that the victim was telling the truth and believed her companion was “telling the truth” in regards to the additional 13-year-old victim.  He noted that neither victim was in need of professional counseling since he had surmised that the “process of healing” had begun.

Overbaugh notified Harrisburg Diocesan Bishop William Keeler of the complaints and forwarded McAndrew’s report to the superior-in-charge of Long’s religious order in Maryland on December 1, 1987.  Overbaugh reported that he and [REDACTED] had met with Long. Long admitted he had a “relationship” with the girl, whom he identified by name.  He stated the relationship was over.  He had gone to confession and was receiving spiritual counseling.  Long claimed that, while she may have been a girl, there was no sexual involvement while she was a student at the school.  Overbaugh noted, “Thus eliminating the possibility later of a pedophilia suit.”  Near the conclusion of his letter, Overbaugh wrote that Keeler preferred that Long be “reassigned by his Religious Community,” and then memorialized the following: “I told Father Long that the report of his misconduct and the prudent decision concerning his transfer from Danville would have to be given to his Superiors in Baltimore.  He understood this.”

On January 6, 1988, McAndrew wrote a note to Overbaugh that the Grand Jury obtained from Diocesan records through a subpoena.  The note stated:

“Hughie, This is a private communication separate from the foregoing official letter. My real fear is that (victim) may reach the point where she will seek to embarrass all her ‘enemies’ by one rash step. By exposing Father Long’s misdoings she would succeed in hurting him, the Sisters, and (especially) her parents whom she considers hypocrites.  This is not so far-fetched.  Remember her brother publically lifted the Offertory collection at St. Joseph’s to (I think) embarrass his parents.  I do not like to play amateur psychiatrist, but these are my fears. 

Another letter bearing the same date was sent by McAndrew to Overbaugh. This letter referenced the above mentioned victim of sexual solicitation. McAndrew reported that the victim met with him and disclosed that more than solicitation had occurred. The victim reported that she was angry and was discussing the details of what occurred for the first time.  The victim reported that she had been forced to have sex with Long. For support, the victim had again brought the 18- year-old girl with her.  That victim also elaborated and stated that both victims felt “intense anger and hatred toward Father Long.” McAndrew wrote that he had advised her against “public protest” and stated, “Her anger is not merely internal but taking a form of public protest which will cause her trouble and eventually lead to public scandal as she is forced to reveal the reasons for her anger.”  Overbaugh responded to McAndrew and stated that the Jesuits were apprised of the developments.

On January 17, 1988, McAndrew reported to Overbaugh that the victim smashed the lower windows of Long’s former residence, which was part of the Sister’s Convent.  He wrote, “The Sister’s called the police and the police are seeking the perpetrator. If the police learn (victim) did the vandalism and arrest her for it, she will probably tell her attorney her reason.  This could lead to a chain of legal actions far more damaging to the Sisters than a few broken windows.  I think the time has arrived when it may be advisable to brief the Sisters as regards this entire situation. Otherwise, they may unknowingly take steps they may later regret.”  Shortly thereafter, Long’s Superior transferred him to another location.

On January 15, 1988, McAndrew wrote to Overbaugh again.  This time, McAndrew had learned the victim saw Long in Danville. The victim learned he was asking about her. McAndrew wrote to Overbaugh, “Please use every effort to assure that Father Long will not come to Danville again.  If he does, everything will fall apart.”

On January 18, 1988, the Sisters of Saints Cyril and Methodius were finally briefed on the situation and allegations against Long by McAndrew at Overbaugh’s direction.  They were upset and felt betrayed.  They asked why Long was allowed to stay at the Villa until Christmas instead of being withdrawn when the allegations were made.  In his letter detailing this interaction, McAndrew noted that the superior of the order, Sister Raymund, demanded that Long “never again visit the Villa Sacred Heart” or communicate in any way with the Sisters of St. Cyril and Methodius.

In July 1988, the victim reported that Long had visited Danville.  Long was seen visiting with a nun at the convent, even though the head Sister forbade any such contact. McAndrew wrote this to Overbaugh and noted:  “Such a prohibition would be difficult to enforce without revealing to the entire community the reasons for the boycott.”

In August 1988, Monsignor William Richardson wrote a memorandum to Keeler, which stated that Long had asked to leave the Jesuits after he refused to receive therapy. Long’s superior had written to Rome requesting dispensation from the priesthood.  That same month, Overbaugh wrote a memorandum to Keeler that stated the Sisters of Saints Cyril and Methodius received wedding invitations from one of Long’s child victims.  The wedding was between Long and his child victim.  However, Long called off the engagement in September 1988.

On February 12, 1990, the Diocese was informed that Long had been appointed a co-pastor at St. James Church in Jessup, Lackawanna County. The nun who reported this information stated that she had reported it to a priest, who advised that he would inform Diocese of Scranton Bishop James Timlin of the situation with Long.   This information was located in a handwritten memorandum from McAndrew to Overbaugh.  McAndrew noted that the reporting nun was concerned that, if news of Long’s assignment made it back to the victim, “the whole matter could explode again.” It was noted that she had been promised by Long’s order that he would never “be placed in an assignment where he could again prey upon young women.”

In a memorandum dated June 30, 1995, Helwig wrote to Dattilo that, in 1988, Long applied for laicization and was granted dispensation.  However, Long refused to sign the necessary documents.  Thus, Long was still a religious order priest.

Long was eventually reassigned by the Society’s superior and continued in ministry until Father Glynn, Long’s superior in 1995, removed Long from ministry when he learned of Long’s history.  Long was sent to St. Luke’s Institute for five months.

Near the close of this memorandum, Helwig noted that, in 1991-1992, “Cardinal Keeler granted Long permission to work in the Archdiocese of Baltimore. Shortly after his assignment reports were again received of inappropriate behavior on his part.”  Long went on vacation and never returned to his community.

The Grand Jury finds that Keeler presided over the Diocese of Harrisburg when it received complaints that Long had sexually abused children. Keeler was informed that Long had admitted to the conduct.  In spite of such knowledge, Keeler, now in his capacity as Cardinal of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, returned Long to ministry in a Roman Catholic Archdiocese.

The Grand Jury finds that this practice of transferring dangerous priests to other locations only expanded the pool of unknowing potential victims on which these offenders could re-offend. Often the priest was simply transferred to another parish within a diocese.  Sometimes, the priest was transferred to another diocese with a “benevolent bishop” or without notice to that bishop of the priest’s past crimes. This practice occurred throughout Pennsylvania and, as in this case, even included transfers to other states or countries.  Such conduct endangered the welfare of children, Catholic parishioners, and the public.

Additional information regarding the widespread sexual abuse of children within the Catholic Dioceses of Pennsylvania and the systemic cover up by senior church officials is compiled in the Pennsylvania Diocese Victim’s Report published by the Pennsylvania Attorney General following a two-year grand jury investigation.  A complete copy of the Report is available on the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s website.