Diocese: Diocese of Harrisburg
From Report I of the 40th Statewide Investigating Grand Jury for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania:
In July of 1991, a woman reported that Father James Beeman sexually abused her daughter at St. Columbia in Bloomsburg from 1961 to 1964. When her daughter was eight years old, the mother remembered seeing blood in her daughter’s underwear. The daughter reported to the Diocese of Harrisburg in September 1991 that Beeman sexually assaulted her four times from 1961 to 1973. The daughter reported the following information, which was documented in a Diocesan summary of all allegations against Beeman:
“1) In catechism class, Beeman set up a projector to show films and held the daughter on his lap and touched her inappropriately;
2) At age seven, the daughter had her tonsils removed and she was recovering in the hospital. Beeman raped her when he visited the hospital room;
3) At age 13, he came to her house when her parents were away. He raped her at her house;
4) At age 19, the abuse continued. Beeman raped her when she was pregnant;
5) Due to the constant abuse by Beeman, the daughter considered suicide.”
Beeman was confronted about the allegations in October 1991. He admitted the sexual abuse of this victim. He was issued a penal precept that revoked any priestly faculties. In February 1992, the Diocese sent Beeman for an assessment. Diocesan officials summarized his treatment and included the following:
“1) From 1953 to 1958, Beeman sexually abused a girl, who was age six to 12 during that time frame, by fondling her genitals on two to three occasions;
2) In 1968, he fondled the genitals of a six year old girl, approximately three to four times;
3) In 1972, he fondled the genitals of a 6 year old girl twice.”
In 2002, the victim from the 1953 to 1958 sexual abuse came forward and reported her molestation. She stated Beeman kissed her and fondled her genitals. The Diocese spoke with Beeman regarding the victim’s allegations from 1953 to 1958. Beeman admitted to the allegations and stated he had a “deep love” for this victim. He stated she was “still in my mind; I guess I am still in love with her.” He kept pictures of this victim. Beeman turned over to Diocesan officials the following items: one large framed portrait of this victim, one medium framed portrait of this victim, and five photographs of this victim. He admitted to Diocesan officials that he sexually abused seven young girls while a practicing priest in the Diocese of Harrisburg. In September 2014, Bishop Ronald Gainer submitted Beeman’s acts to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith for final resolution. Bishop Gainer wrote, “I believe that the scandal caused by his admission of the sexual abuse of minor girls has been sufficiently repaired by his acceptance of the penal precepts.” The Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith responded that the Dicastery carefully and attentively studied the facts for review and decided Beeman was to live a life of prayer and penance.
In November 2016, another woman came forward and stated that when she was a child Beeman forced his tongue down her throat while having her sit on his lap.
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.