Catholic Priest

Richard J. Barry

Diocese: Diocese of Harrisburg

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

On April 5, 2001, Father Edward Malesic wrote a memorandum to the file of Father Richard J. Barry. He received a phone call from a woman who reported that Barry had molested her son when her son was an elementary school age student from 1978 to 1980.

On April 6, 2001, Malesic wrote a memorandum regarding a phone conversation with Father Dave Kalert, the Provincial of the Eastern Province of Oblates of Mary Immaculate. Malesic informed the Provincial that a report of sexual misconduct was made against Barry, which occurred at the St. Margaret Mary church in the late 1970’s.

Kalert stated that Barry was not in active ministry because he took a leave of absence 10 years prior, in 1991, at Kalert’s request. Kalert stated he did not recall any allegations of sexual misconduct against Barry, however, “there were some indications of strange situations with him.”

In 2002, a second man reported a sexual abuse allegation against Barry to the Diocese. The man, age 11 at the time of the abuse, reported to the Diocese that Barry developed a friendship with the then-boy’s mother, who was going through a divorce at the time.  The man recalled this was between 1981 and 1982.  On one occasion, the then-boy stated he went to Barry’s mother’s house in Philadelphia and stayed the night.  Barry asked the boy if he wanted to stay in Barry’s father’s bed or with him.  Barry informed the boy that his father was an old man who sweated a lot and his father’s bed probably smelled bad.  The boy decided to sleep in the same bed with Barry. The boy woke up to Barry fondling him and then performing oral sex on him.  He was reassured by Barry that “it was O.K.”

The man who reported abuse to the Diocese in 2002 remembered another boy, about his same age at the time,  who spent time with Barry.  He stated this boy had a similar experience with Barry. This boy developed issues with alcohol and drug use. The man who reported abuse to the Diocese in 2002 stated the other boy committed suicide.

In December 2002, a third allegation of sexual abuse against Barry was reported to the Diocese.  A male called the Diocese and stated in approximately 1985 or 1986 his son was a victim of sexual advances by Barry while on a trip to Twin Falls, Minnesota.

On August 9, 2004, Bishop Nicholas Dattilo summarized the Diocese’s review of the third report of sexual misconduct made against Barry.  Dattilo stated the victim was unwilling to discuss the matter. Dattilo also stated Barry was not under his supervision, did not hold office in the Diocese, did not live within the Diocese’s territory, and would not be reassigned to ministry within the Diocese. Dattilo then stated the Diocesan investigation into this matter was concluded.

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.