Catholic Priest

Joseph D. Hulko

Ordained: 1967
Diocese: Diocese of Allentown

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

In September 2003, Father Joseph Hulko admitted to the Diocese that he sexually abused a minor female while he was the Chaplain at St. Francis Orphanage in Orwigsburg, between June 18, 1971, and October 18, 1971.  Hulko expressed that he had been troubled by it for a number of years, which prompted him to admit the abuse.

Hulko was interviewed in 2012.  At the outset of the interview, Hulko volunteered that he did not engage in oral sex with the victim.  Hulko met the victim at the orphanage and had sexual contact with her.  The victim was a teenage resident of the orphanage.  Shortly after starting his assignment at the orphanage, Hulko sat in the television room with female minor residents.  It was night and the girls were dressed in sleeping clothes.  Hulko sat next to the victim, who was wearing “low cut” sleeping clothes so that her breasts were partially exposed. Hulko, motivated by “curiosity,” touched the victim’s right bare breast. Hulko claimed that this was his first sexual contact with the victim.  Hulko stated he did not know how old the victim was at the time but believed she was of high school age. Based on the victim’s date of birth, she was fourteen years old when Hulko touched her breast.  Hulko said that he knew what he did was “wrong” and “I’m a priest and she’s an orphan girl.

The second time Hulko had sexual contact with the victim was when he kissed her at her grandmother’s house. Hulko told the investigator that, between the time he touched the victim’s breast and the time he kissed her, he was never alone with the victim.  As the interview progressed, Hulko revised his story and told the investigator that on multiple occasions he was alone with the victim and kissed her. Hulko described the kisses as “long passionate kisses” and described himself as a “sex addict.”  When the investigator challenged Hulko’s truthfulness, Hulko ended the interview.  The investigator wrote in his report that he believed “Hulko deliberately tried to conceal the truth about type and frequency of sexual contact” with the victim.

A document produced by the Diocese, dated July 2012, was entitled “Personal Safety Plan, Rev. Joseph D. Hulko (HJA).” In a section entitled “Summary of Problem Behaviors,” the following was written:

“The victim has recently been identified and alleges that there were many instances of HJA kissing her, touching her genitals, grabbing at her body and clothes in HJA’s orphanage room, in his car, in the victim’s orphanage room, and whenever and wherever HJA found time alone with the victim on orphanage property.  The victim reported that there was oral sex between her and HJA in his room.  The victim was 14 or 15 years old at the time of the abuse and the abuse occurred over approximately a one year period, as much as twice a week.”

Prior to Hulko admitting to the sexual abuse of a minor, he was sent for “treatment” six different times between 1982 and 2003.

In a letter to Hulko’s mother dated August 11, 1982, in which Monsignor Muntone was carbon copied, a psychologist from Lehigh Valley Associates wrote, “At your request I spoke to Monsignor Muntone regarding your son’s temporary placement … Monsignor has assured me that Joe is safe and doing well … Considering the delicacy of the situation, I agree that no one should know where Joe is at this time.”  Hulko was at Trinity Retreat Center, New Rochelle, New York.

After his stay at Trinity, Hulko was reported to be on “Sick Leave” for three years, until 1985.  Over the next two decades, Hulko was given twelve different assignments and sent for “treatment” an additional five times before his retirement in 2003. Monsignor Gerald E. Gobitas wrote in a memorandum dated January 15, 2015, to administrative personnel that Hulko had moved to Robertsville, Missouri, and “please send his pension checks directly to him.”

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.