Father Thomas Shea
Archdiocese of Philadelphia
Inpatient treatment: 1994-1995
Restricted ministry: 2004
Permanent restrictions: 2005
Assigned as follows:
- 1964-1969 St. Paul (Norristown, PA)
- 1969-1975 St. Helena (Philadelphia, PA)
- 1975-1979 St. Joseph (Collingdale, PA)
- 1979-1980 Old St. Mary’s (Philadelphia, PA)
- 1980-1985 St. Barnabas (Philadelphia, PA)
- 1985-1989 St. Laurence (Upper Darby, PA)
- 1989-1994 St. Clement (Philadelphia, PA)
- 1994-1995 Leave of Absence (Villa St. John Vianney)
Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations against Father Thomas Shea:
In October 1994, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia received two reports that Shea sexually abused underaged boys during his assignments at St. Helena and St. Joseph in the 1970s. He was removed from ministry and placed on a health-related leave of absence. Shea was sent to Villa St. John Vianney, a notorious treatment facility for pedophile priests in Downingtown, Pennsylvania.
In 2002, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia received a third allegation against Shea. This report indicated he abused four boys during his time at St. Joseph in the mid-1970s. More than two years later, the Archdiocese finally restricted Shea’s ministry; in October 2004, Shea voluntarily surrendered his priestly faculties to forgo the Vatican penal process and defrocking. He made a canonical “plea bargain” to accept a life of “prayer and penance” instead.
Shea is still living and remains a priest of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. According to the Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s website, Shea “has been permanently restricted [from ministry] and faculties to exercise ministry have been permanently withdrawn. He has accepted a supervised life of prayer and penance.” No details have been given about the level or type of daily supervision that he has, or where he is living. He is suspected to be residing at Villa St. Joseph with other accused priests of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. He is 82 years old.
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