Fr. John Schmeer – Archdiocese of Philadelphia

Father John P. Schmeer

Archdiocese of Philadelphia

Fr. John Schmeer Horowitz Law   Fr. John Schmeer Horowitz Law

Ordained: 1964

Leave of Absence: 2004

Permanently restricted: 2005

Assigned as follows:

  • 1964-1966 Sacred Heart (Havertown, PA)
  • 1965 St. James (Philadelphia, PA)
  • 1965-1977 Roman Catholic High School (Philadelphia, PA)
  • 1966-1967 St. Stanislaus (Philadelphia, PA)
  • 1967 St. Rose of Lima (Philadelphia, PA)
  • 1967-1971 Sacred Heart (Havertown, PA)
  • 1971-1972 Corpus Christi (Philadelphia, PA)
  • 1972-1977 St. Barnabas (Philadelphia, PA)
  • 1977-1990 Bishop Kendrick High School
  • 1977-1990 St. Titus (Norristown, PA)
  • 1990-1991 St. Cecilia (Philadelphia, PA)
  • 1991-2004 St. Martin of Tours (New Hope, PA)
  • 2004-2005 Leave of Absence

Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations against Father John Schmeer:

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia documented the first complaint about Father John Schmeer in March 2002.  A man alleged that he was sexually abused as a 14 year old boy at Roman Catholic High School in approximately 1967-1968.  Multiple incidents occurred in the presence of Father Ernest Durante, who the victim says also had a sexual relationship with Schmeer.  

Schmeer denied the allegation when confronted.  However, Schmeer agreed to undergo a psychological evaluation at Villa St. John Vianney, a notorious treatment facility for pedophile priests in Downingtown, Pennsylvania.  In 2003, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia internal review board determined that the allegation was not credible – meaning they believed it was made up by the victim – and Schmeer was returned to ministry, despite the fact that he identified 15 other boys that he believed or knew were also abused by Schmeer.

During the evaluation, Schmeer referred frequently his relationship with Durante, as well as an allegation that he was sexually inappropriate with a parish cook in the mid-1970s.

In 2004, two more men came forward to report abuse by Schmeer.  The first alleged that his abuse occurred in the summer of 1986 when he was 15 years old.  The second alleged abuse in 1968 while he was a student at Roman Catholic High School.

Schmeer was removed from ministry and took a personal leave of absence while the review board investigated the allegations.  Ultimately, this time the review board determined that the allegations were credible – this time they believed the victims – and Schmeer was permanently restricted from ministry by Cardinal Rigali.  He later accepted revocation of his faculties and a life of prayer and penance in lieu of the more complicated process of defrocking him by the Vatican.

Schmeer is still alive and a priest of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.  He is believed to be residing at Villa St. Joseph with other accused priests of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia leading “supervised lives of prayer and penance.”  The level of his daily supervision is unknown. Schmeer is 83 years old.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.  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 Philadelphia now have legal options to recover damages due to a compensation fund created for victims.  Contact us at (954) 641-2100 or today.