Fr. James Armstrong – Diocese of Pittsburgh

Father James Armstrong

Diocese of Pittsburgh

Ordained: 1977

Leave of absence: 1991

Removed from ministry: 2007

Death: 2012

Assigned as Follows:

  • 10/13/1977-7/07/1982 – St. Elizabeth of Hungary, Pittsburgh, PA
  • 7/08/1982-6/02/1985 – St. Francis Xavier, Pittsburgh, PA
  • 6/03/1985-6/21/1989 – Resurrection, West Mifflin, PA
  • 6/21/1989-2/20/1990 – St. Ursula, Allison Park, PA
  • 7/23/1990-6/27/1991 – Holy Sepulcher, Butler, PA
  • 6/27/1991-12/27/1991 – Leave of Absence
  • 10/24/1992-8/02/1999 – St. Paul, Butler, PA
  • 8/02/1999-7/23/2007 – Newman Center, Slippery Rock, PA
  • 8/02/1999-7/23/2007 – St. Peter, Slippery Rock, PA
  • 7/24/2007 – Administrative Leave

Summary of Allegations Against Father James “Tom” Armstrong:

According to documents subpoenaed from the Diocese of Pittsburgh, a file against Father James “Tom” Armstrong was created in 1990. He is accused of offering money, drugs, and alcohol to homeless boys in Pittsburgh in exchange for sexual acts.

He was placed on a administrative leave after going to St. Luke Institute, a notorious treatment center for pedophile priests in Suitland, Maryland, for treatment in 1991. He took a leave of absence for health reasons in June of the same year. From July to December of 1991, he was treated at the St. Michael Center in St. Louis. In December of 1993, he completed his aftercare program.

According to a confidential memorandum created by Diocesan Assistance Coordinator Rita Flaherty, a victim contacted the Diocese of Pittsburgh in 2009 and said he was abused by many priests throughout his life. He specifically mentioned “Father Tom,” a nickname for Father James Armstrong. The victim was homeless as a teen and his therapist noted that his abuse included being paid for sex.

Records from the Diocese of Pittsburgh also contain a 2010 letter from a victim who also referred to Armstrong as “Father Tom.” This victim said he was 16 when he was introduced to Father Armstrong in the winter of 1985-1986.

The victim stated that Armstrong made them call him degrading things as he performed oral sex on him and a “hustler.” They would also spank him, slap his face, and beat him. These instances occurred late at night after the victim and the “hustler” were driven by Armstrong up Route 28 to Route 8 (the Red Belt) to Shaler Township. The victim reported that this went on for about 2 years.

The Diocese of Pittsburgh kept in contact with Father James Armstrong from 2007, when he was put on administrative leave, until 2011. At this point, he was being treated in Maryland.

According to his obituary, Father Armstrong was a sports official and a chaplain for NHL Officials in the Pittsburgh area.

Armstrong died in 2012.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of Pittsburgh.  If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in Pennsylvania, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those abused by Catholic clergy in the Diocese of Pittsburgh now have legal options to recover damages due to a compensation fund created for victims.  Contact us at (954) 641-2100 or adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com today.