Catholic Priest

Ibarra Mercado

Ordained:   ?
Diocese: Diocese of Harrisburg

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

On June 8, 1994, Monsignor Hugh Overbaugh wrote a memorandum to Bishop Nicholas Dattilo marked as “CONFIDENTIAL.”  The Diocese of Harrisburg was notified by Father Michael Connelly, Oblates of St. Francis de Sales who served as the Judicial Vicar for the Military Archdiocese under the Archbishop of Military Services, of child sex abuse allegations against Mercado.  The Archdiocese of Military Services advised they would conduct the investigation.   The Judicial Vicar stated because the abuse occurred at the Veteran’s Administration (“VA”) hospital, it was on federal territory.  A memorandum stated, “There is no danger, therefore, that the Diocese of Harrisburg will be involved.”

The allegations involved Mercado “French kissing” a 12 year old girl. The girl’s mother was an organist for masses that Mercado celebrated at the Lebanon VA Hospital.

On July 1, 1994, Father Paul Helwig wrote a memorandum to Bishop Nicholas Dattilo that stated he received word that Mercado was being “reassigned.”

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.