Martin M. Boylan
Diocese: Diocese of Scranton
From Report I of the 40th Statewide Investigating Grand Jury for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania:
In April, 1993, while Father Martin M. Boylan was serving as a chaplain at Marywood College, a male graduate student alleged that Boylan sexually harassed him and propositioned him for sex. The Diocese of Scranton sent Boylan for a comprehensive psychological evaluation at the Anodos Center in Downingtown, and, after the evaluation was completed, it was determined that Boylan would take leave from the ministry and undergo two to three years of outpatient psychotherapy.
After completing the therapy, Boylan underwent evaluations in 1994, 1997, and 2004. According to a note in the file, the evaluations did not raise any serious concerns that would prevent Boylan from exercising public ministry.
On March 31, 2016, the Victim Assistance Coordinator for the Diocese of Florida notified the Diocese that an 18-year-old male had reported that he was touched inappropriately by Boylan when he was eight-years-old. On April 1, 2016, this victim contacted the Diocese and advised that the assault occurred at a summer event at St. Vincent’s Camp in Honesdale. The victim reported that Boylan inserted his penis into the victim’s rectum and touched many of his body parts, including his private parts. A report was immediately made to ChildLine.
Boylan was subsequently interviewed by the Diocese and denied the allegation. He stated that he had no recollection of the victim. Boylan was informed that his faculties to exercise public ministry were immediately suspended and that he would need to vacate the rectory. He was encouraged to undergo residential treatment at St. John Vianney Center to which he agreed.
On April 3, 2016, the Diocese notified the Wayne County District Attorney’s Office of the allegation.
Bishop James C. Timlin created an Independent Review Board in the early 1990s. In a letter dated April 5, 2016, a former member of the Board wrote to Bishop Joseph Bambera and noted that throughout the years, Boylan’s case had returned to the Board. The member stated that the Board noted that Boylan had resisted treatment and had resented the recommendations made by the Board and the team from Downingtown. In 1996, the Board had recommended that Boylan return to Downington, but this recommendation was ignored. The official notes of the Board observed that Boylan “attempts to orchestrate his own approach to therapy.” The letter further stated that “[o]ver the course of time, Boylan often wrote to Timlin, requesting to be appointed pastor. The Board always objected to this possibility. Nevertheless, Timlin appointed him pastor and Boylan continued to consistently appear at public events throughout the diocese.”
On April 6, 2016, the Diocese received a call from an anonymous male who advised that he was a student at Marywood University in 1983. The caller reported that Boylan had approached him with sexually suggestive overtures. The male reported this to the Marywood Administration. Although a contract was agreed to between Marywood University and Boylan–which included Boylan’s departure from the University–and this eased the tension between Boylan and the male student, the male advised that he was upset to learn that Boylan was still practicing as a priest.
On May 25, 2016, the Diocese received a call from a former parishioner who advised of an incident of sexual abuse by Boylan that occurred in 1984. The caller advised that he did not intend to file charges and wished to remain anonymous. On August 23, 2017, the Pennsylvania State Police closed the investigation into this allegation of sexual abuse because of the victim’s refusal to testify. A statement was subsequently released by the Diocese which stated, “While civil authorities have made this determination, the ecclesiastic process in Father Boylan’s case continues. Father Boylan’s status as a priest removed from ministry with his faculties to exercise priestly ministry suspended continues to remain unchanged.”
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.