Fr. Stephen T. Forish (Diocese of Allentown)

Father Stephen T. Forish

Diocese of Allentown (Pennsylvania)

Ordained: 1972

Criminal charges: 1996, 2006

Removed from ministry: 2003

Named in civil suit: 2004

Died: December 2006

Assigned as follows:

  • 1972-1973        St. Anthony of Padua (Easton, PA)
  • 1973-1974        Holy Rosary (Reading, PA)
  • 1974-1975        Newman Club (Allentown, PA)
  • 1975-1976        St. Elizabeth (Whitehall, PA)
  • 1976-1978        St. Joseph (Limeport, PA)
  • 1978-1979        St. Peter (Coplay, PA)
  • 1979-1982        St. Ursula (Fountain Hill, PA)
  • 1982-1991        Our Lady of Good Counsel (Gordon, PA)
  • 1991-1994        Holy Family Villa residence/graduate studies (Bethlehem, PA)
  • 1994-1996        Our Lady Help of Christians (Allentown, PA)
  • 1997            Not Listed in Official Catholic Directory
  • 1998-1999        Holy Family Villa residence (Bethlehem, PA)
  • 1999-2007        Not Listed in Official Catholic Directory

Summary of Abuse Allegations against Father Stephen Forish:

In 1996, a 22-year-old man accused Forish of approaching him and offering money for sex in Bethlehem. The man said that when he refused, Forish asked him if he knew any 15-year-olds who would be interested.  Forish was tried on charges that included attempting to promote prostitution of children, but was later acquitted.

Also in 1996, McAdoo police acknowledged they had been keeping close tabs on Forish after six parents complained the priest had tried to “lure” their children at various times since 1990. None of those complaints led to charges.

However, the Diocese didn’t keep tabs on Forish.  Forish remained a priest, though not in active ministry, when he was arrested Aug. 6, 2006, after approaching a 26-year-old man in Greensburg and asking for “sexual favors.”  According to state police in the Westmoreland County, the young man was one of four men Forish approached that night, police said.  At the time of his death, the prosecution was ongoing.

The arrest led to major questions about how the Diocese of Allentown monitors priests accused of sexual misconduct.  The answer given in 2006 was simple: it doesn’t. According to a media report, the “diocese said it had not kept tabs on the 61-year-old priest since he voluntarily withdrew from active ministry and took a job as a psychologist in western Pennsylvania, despite 1996 charges of seeking sex from a Bethlehem man and public complaints about his behavior with children in his hometown of McAdoo, Schuylkill County.”

“Matt Kerr, diocese spokesman, said the diocese did not keep track of Forish because he was acquitted of the 1996 charges and there were no other complaints against him in his diocese file.”

At the time of his death, Forish was working as a psychologist in private practice and residing in McAdoo, Pennsylvania, where police had been “keeping tabs on him.”  According to media reports, his biography indicated he specialized in family and child therapy.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of Allentown.  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 Allentown may have legal options against the Diocese of Allentown.

Contact us at (954) 641-2100 or adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com today.