Diocese: Diocese of Allentown
From the Report I of the 40th Statewide Investigating Grand Jury for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania:
Father Gabriel Patil, a priest of the Clerics Regular of St. Paul, known as the Barnabites, was given permission by Bishop Joseph McShea on June 3, 1974, to exercise his ministry within the Diocese of Allentown. The Diocese provided no other assignment history.
Correspondence between the Diocese and the Barnabites shows that, in 2003, a victim reported to the Diocese that he and four of his friends were abused by Patil. The abuse occurred on the property of the Bethlehem Catholic High School during the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, when the victims were seven to nine years old. The victim reported that he and the four other known victims were living near the high school at the time. Patil would invite the boys into his residence at the high school and play hide and seek with the boys. While playing hide and seek Patil would have the boys sit on his lap. Patil would open the boys’ pants and fondle their genitals. One of the victims also reported that Patil had the victim undress in his presence. Patil leered at the victim as the victim tried on new clothes Patil had bought for the victim. Lawsuits were filed but ultimately dismissed since the statutory limits had expired.
At the time the abuse was reported and lawsuits filed, Patil was a Provincial Superior at St. James in Ontario, Canada. Patil met with Bishop Cullen. Patil also inquired about insurance coverage from the Diocese against potential claims for damages in connection with the reported abuse. The Diocese provided no insurance coverage, informing Patil that coverage is only provided to priests who are incardinated in the Diocese and, “as you know, the priests of the Barnabite Fathers are not incardinated in the Diocese of Allentown.”
Four months after receiving the report of abuse, the Diocese forwarded the information to the Northampton County District Attorney’s Office on March 5, 2004. In the letter to the District Attorney’s Office, the attorney for the Diocese wrote:
“It is important for you to note the following. Father Patil is not a priest of the Diocese of Allentown. Father Patil is a member of the Barnabite Fathers religious order, not under the supervision of the Diocese of Allentown.”
Patil went on to serve as a priest in Buffalo, New York, Youngstown, Ohio, and then with a delegation in the country of India. In 2010, Patil requested that he be allowed to return to the Diocese and exercise his public ministry. The Diocese did not permit Patil to return.
In 2012, the Barnabite Fathers asked the Review Board of the Diocese to accept Patil’s case for review for suitability for ministry. The Diocese denied reviewing Patil’s case and informed the Barnabite Fathers they should establish their own review board. No further information was provided by the Diocese on Patil or his whereabouts. Any disciplinary action was left to the discretion of Patil’s religious order.
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.