Msgr. J. Michael Flood
Archdiocese of Philadelphia
Named in civil lawsuit: 2009
Suspended from ministry: 2011
Assigned as follows:
- St. Patrick (Malvern, PA)
- St. Rose of Lima (North Wales, PA)
- Cardinal O’Hara High School (Springfield, PA)
- St. Malachy (Philadelphia, PA)
- Incarnation of Our Lord (Philadelphia, PA)
- St. John Neumann High School (Philadelphia, PA)
- St. Maria Goretti High School (Philadelphia, PA)
- St. Madeleine Sophie (Philadelphia, PA)
- St. Luke the Evangelist (Glenside, PA)
- Regina Coeli Residence
Summary of Allegations against Father J. Michael Flood:
In 2009, Father J. Michael Flood was named in a civil lawsuit filed against the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Publicly, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia stated that it had never heard the allegation before being served with the lawsuit and that Flood denied the allegation that he abused the plaintiff in 1976 while the boy attended St. John Neumann High School and Flood was his teacher.
It also slammed the man who filed the lawsuit because he opted to file his lawsuit using the common pseudonym “John Broe #1,” rather than make his name part of the public record. This is a common practice in civil lawsuits; in our experience, most survivors of abuse choose to use a pseudonym, such as John Doe. The Archdiocese of Philadelphia used it as a means to intimidate and manipulate the plaintiff: the general public was told that Flood would remain in ministry for so long as his accuser was publicly anonymous, claiming that an investigation would be impossible. Of course, anyone at the Archdiocese could have picked up the phone and called the plaintiff’s lawyer for that information – which would also be provided in the usual course of litigation.
Flood remained in ministry for nearly two years, long after the Archdiocese of Philadelphia no doubt learned the identity of the plaintiff, until the second grand jury report was released in 2011. Just weeks after stating publicly that not a single priest active in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia had been accused of sexual abuse, he suddenly suspended Flood and 20 other priests on the grounds that they had been accused with little to no investigation done. The matters were referred to the Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s internal review board for investigation and recommendation.
In late 2011, the plaintiff voluntarily dismissed his lawsuit after a particularly strenuous deposition that his lawyer said took a huge toll on him in part because of the effects of the abuse. He reiterated to the media that his client was still willing to participate in the Archdiocese’s internal investigation.
Flood’s lawyer, and the lawyer the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, on the other hand, did a public victory lap touting the plaintiff as a manipulative liar who could not stand up to arduous cross-examination because he was a liar. “His credibility was completely shot,” according to Flood’s attorney.
Based solely upon the fact that the lawsuit was voluntarily withdrawn, and not any investigation of its own – like an interview with the plaintiff – the internal review board recommended that Flood be returned to ministry, unrestricted.
Flood continues to be a priest in good standing. He is the pastor Emeritus of St. Luke parish and works as an administrator at a retirement home for priests. He is now 77 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 firstname.lastname@example.org today.