Fr. John Gormley – Diocese of Rochester

John Gormley Horowitz Law

Father John Gormley
Diocese of Rochester

Ordained: 1959
Leave of absence: 1969
Left priesthood: 1971

Assigned as follows:

  • 1959: Holy Redeemer Church, Rochester, NY
  • 1962: St. Mary’s Church, Corning, NY
  • 1965: St. Mary’s of the Lake, Watkins Glen, NY
  • 1966: St. John Evangelist, Clyde, NY
  • 1967: Rural outreach program, Galilee House, serving Tioga and Tompkins counties, NY

Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations against Father John Gormley:

In 1957, 2 years before he was even ordained, Father John Gormley consulted with the spiritual director at St. Bernard’s Seminary in Rochester because he feared he was unfit for the priesthood.

According to media reports, an “incident” occurred with an adolescent boy and Gormley was seeking help from the spiritual director to control his sexual compulsivity. Instead, Gormley said, he was told that his problem required prayer and spiritual discipline, but that it wasn’t a barrier to keep him from being ordained. The Diocese of Rochester did nothing to help the future priest and, instead, ordained him and sent the budding predator out into the community.

In 1959, Gormley was given his first assignment as a priest to Holy Redeemer Church in Rochester, where he later admitted inappropriate sexual activity happened again.

The Church Turns a Blind Eye

According to new reports, after each incident of abuse, Gormley would take his Holy Redeemer victim to confession with him because he was desperate for help from the Diocese of Rochester and distraught over his problem. Instead, time after time he was given absolution through confession, and his sexual problem remained a closely guarded secret.

In 1962, on his own initiative, Gormley says he sought counseling from a psychiatrist to control his sexual and psychological difficulties.

Gormley says that by his last year at St. Mary’s in Corning, his behavior was no longer a secret to anyone with a collar. Gormley told a reporter that there was a discussion with the senior pastor about his compulsion. Gormley was sent back to Rochester, where he met yet another victim.

The victim was a 9-year-old boy who Gormley abused several times at the child’s home, as well as on overnight trips.  He later filed a lawsuit against the Diocese of Rochester.

Gormley left the priesthood in 1971 and married his wife, who encouraged Gormley to check himself into a residential treatment center in Hartford, Connecticut. He stayed there for 7 months in 1972 and was in therapy for his compulsion for over 30 years.

Gormley is now in his 80s and believed to be residing in Burdett, New York.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims of sexual abuse in the Diocese of Rochester.  The Diocese of Rochester in New York filed for bankruptcy protection in 2019.  Our lawyers are now offering free legal consultations to discuss a potential lawsuit and your other options as a survivor of sexual abuse by priests and other employees of the Rochester Diocese.  

Very strict filing deadlines have now been set by the Bankruptcy Court.  Most victims of abuse will never be able to recover damages if they miss this deadline, so please contact us to discuss your case today.    Call us at (888) 283-9922 or send an e-mail to adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com.