Father Ernest Durante
Ordained: 1963 (approx.)
Left Ministry: 1986
Named in civil lawsuit: 2004
Summary of Allegations against Father Ernest Durante:
In 2004, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia was sued by a man who said the was molested by Father John Schmeer and Father Ernest Durante as a 14 year old boy in the 1960s.
According to media reports, the lawsuit stated that Schmeer was the main proponent of the abuse, but that Durante witnessed sexual acts between Schmeer and the boy, provided him with pornography, masturbated in his presence, and performed a sexual act on him in a pool. The boy said he knew both of the priests from his high school, where Schmeer groomed the boy as his guidance counselor.
Durante was also identified in the 2005 grand jury report as a priest who was alleged to have witnessed Schmeer’s abuse of children without taking any action to stop it or prevent additional incidents.
Durante has denied all of the allegations in the lawsuit and the grand jury report.
Durante left the priesthood in 1986. In 2006, he was discovered working at St. Thomas Aquinas High School, a prestigious high school in the Archdiocese of Miami (Florida), as a guidance counselor. Parents were upset to learn of Durante’s alleged past, and he retired after 10 years there. The following year, parents went to the media because the Archdiocese of Miami hired Durante as “a consultant” on academic testing. While the Archdiocese of Miami insisted he had no contact with youth, Durante himself told reporters that was not true.
Durante resides in Hollywood, Florida. He is 80 years old.
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