Catholic Priest

Thomas D. Skotek

Ordained: 1963
Diocese: Diocese of Scranton

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

Father Thomas D. Skotek was ordained on June 8, 1963, in the Diocese of Scranton. Skotek sexually assaulted a minor female while serving as pastor of St. Casimir in Freeland between January, 1980 and March, 1985.  The female became pregnant and Skotek aided the girl in obtaining an abortion. Diocesan records obtained by the Grand Jury showed that Bishop James C. Timlin was fully aware of the conduct by October, 1986.  Timlin accepted Skotek’s resignation from St. Stanislaus on October 9, 1986, and dispatched Skotek to St. Luke’s Institute in Suitland, Maryland for an evaluation.  In January, 1987, Skotek was reassigned to ministry at St. Aloysius, in Wilkes-Barre.

On January 20, 1989, Timlin sent a letter to Rome and reported that:

“[A] priest in the diocese has been rendered irregular as a result of having assisted in the procurement of a completed abortion . . . Although I cannot absolutely give assurance that this priest’s criminal action will never become public, I do not foresee that such would likely be the case.  This priest is currently residing in a parish quite far from the town where the crime was committed.  He is awaiting a response to his request for a dispensation.”

Timlin closed his letter with his “sincere hope” that he would receive a favorable response since such a response would be to the “spiritual benefit” of the priest involved as well as to the benefit of the “people of this diocese who heed the gifts he shares in priestly ministry.” Timlin noted that he was convinced of Skotek’s sincere repentance and permitted Skotek to continue in ministry. The Grand Jury noted that the focus of Timlin’s letter seemed to exclusively address the procurement of the abortion with little concern that Skotek had impregnated a child.   In 1988, Diocesan records indicated that the victim contacted the church and indicated that she was struggling with her faith.

On December 13, 1989, the victim and her parents entered into an agreement with the Diocese and received a payment of $75,000.  In exchange, the Diocese secured a confidentiality agreement and liability waiver for the Diocese and Skotek.  The agreement prohibited the victim and her family from disclosing what had occurred, and released the Diocese from any responsibility, liability, or damages. The agreement stated, in part:

“It is expressly understood and agreed that this release and settlement is intended to cover and does cover not only known injuries, losses and damages, but any further injuries, losses and damages which arise from or are related to the occurrences arising from the alleged sexual conduct of Reverend Thomas Skotek.”

On January 6, 2002, the Boston Globe newspaper ran an article on child sexual abuse by clergy within the Archdiocese of Boston.  Subsequently, on February 19, 2002, the Diocese was contacted by legal counsel for a 47-year-old woman.  It was reported that while attending Pocono Central Catholic High School, and working at the rectory at St. Mary’s in Mount Pocono, she was sexually abused by Skotek.  Skotek admitted to his conduct when confronted.

On March 15, 2002, an issue arose with the victim whose family had settled with the Diocese in December, 1989. Recent hardships, and her original abusive trauma, had placed her in need.  She contacted the Diocese and obtained $4,000.00 from Skotek.  Timlin acted as the intermediary and noted, “This settles the matter – for now!”  On June 14, 2002, Skotek was finally removed from active ministry approximately two decades after he impregnated a minor and procured an abortion.

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.