Catholic Priest

Robert J. Gibson

Ordained: 1958
Diocese: Diocese of Scranton

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

On January 5, 1995, the Diocese of Scranton was contacted by an attorney representing a man who claimed to have been sexually abused by Father Robert J. Gibson in 1975 when the victim was 14 years old.  Gibson admitted to the sexual misconduct.  A civil action was filed against the Diocese and a $30,000 settlement was reached.

On January 9, 1995, Gibson resigned as pastor of St. Bernadette. He was admitted to St. John Vianney Hospital in Downington for evaluation and treatment.

In August 1995, Gibson was discharged with a recommendation that he reside at a parish under supervision and continue to receive therapy.  He was placed in residence at St. Ignatius Rectory.

In the spring of 1997, a complaint was received from a mother who accused Gibson of “grooming behavior” involving her son.  Gibson was re-admitted to St. John Vianney Hospital for further assessment.

On September 16, 1997, the decision was made that Gibson could no longer exercise priestly ministry or reside in a Diocesan facility.  He remained under supervision until he was able to be placed in a residential treatment facility.

On February 1, 1998, Gibson was placed in the St. John Vianney Renewal Center in Dittmer, Missouri.  The facility monitors priests so as to prevent any behavior that would be harmful to the faithful.  Bishop James C. Timlin removed Gibson’s priestly faculties and directed him to refrain from wearing clerical attire outside of the Renewal Center.  Gibson refused to seek voluntary laicization.

On February 26, 1998, the Diocese received information that Gibson was involved in sexual misconduct with his nephew, who was a minor at the time.

On April 5, 2002, the Diocese received a letter from an adult male who accused Gibson of sexual misconduct and providing pornographic material to him when he was a minor. A copy of the letter were shared with law enforcement.

On October 5, 2005, the Diocese was contacted by an adult male who reported that Gibson sexually assaulted him when he was a minor. The victim sought financial compensation. Gibson admitted to the allegations and arranged to pay the victim $700 a month until his own death.

On July 16, 2007, an adult male reported to the Diocese that he was sexually abused by Gibson from 1973 through 1974.  The Monroe County District Attorney’s Office was notified of the allegations.  The Diocese offered to arrange for counseling for the victim and to arrange for the victim to meet with the Bishop.  The victim declined.  Gibson was questioned about the allegations but had no memory of the allegations.  Gibson was diagnosed with dementia.

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.