Catholic Priest

Richard Gerard Terdine

Diocese: Diocese of Pittsburgh

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

A Ministerial Assessment Board Report dated April 9, 2003 detailed an allegation that Father Richard Gerard Terdine abused a 16-year-old boy who worked part-time at the rectory of St. Peter’s church. The report revealed that in December, 1988, Terdine touched or patted the genital area of the boy on two-to-three occasions, gave the boy an x-rated videotape to watch, provided him with condoms, and massaged his back.

Shortly afterwards, Diocesan officials met with Terdine to discuss the allegations. Terdine denied any sexual touching of the boy.  However, he did admit that he gave the boy an x-rated video as well as condoms.  He stated that he wanted to educate the boy because he seemed naïve about human sexuality. Terdine subsequently resigned from his assignment at St. Peter.  The Diocese sent him to St. Luke Institute for a psychological evaluation.

On May 11, 1990, St. Luke’s provided the Diocese with the following assessment of Terdine that stated:

“Father Terdine does not have a sexual behavior disorder. We see him as at very little risk of acting out sexually, either with youth or others, and this good prognosis is supported by the formal psychological testing which indicates good impulse control and a very high need to comply and obey. One downside element is noted in that there does appear to be little growth in his sexual awareness and understanding.”

The Ministerial Assessment Board subsequently made the following finding about the allegation:

  • The purchase of condoms and x-rated video was wrong to the point of immoral;
  • While not illegal or immoral, it was poor judgement for Father Terdine to massage the young boy’s neck;
  • Given the totality of the circumstances acknowledged by Father Terdine, it was extremely poor judgement for him not to inform the victim’s parents or at least his school guidance counselor of the social or sexual concerns expressed by the victim leading to the purchase of the condoms and the X-rated video tape.

As a result, the Board recommended that Terdine not be assigned to any parish.  The Board stated:

“It is the opinion of this Board that Father Terdine’s admitted conduct is sufficient to warrant this recommendation.  Moreover, given the possibility of the truth of averments made by the (victim), the moral integrity of the Diocese cannot be jeopardized by any assignment of Father Terdine.

Terdine was thereafter placed in restricted ministry and assigned as the chaplain at UPMC Hospitals throughout Pittsburgh.

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.