Fr. James Behan (Oblates) – Archdiocese of Philadelphia

Father James Behan

Archdiocese of Philadelphia

James Behan Horowitz Law

Ordained: 1973

Removed: 2002

Assigned as follows:

  • Northeast Catholic High School (Philadelphia, PA)
  • Immaculate Conception (Wilmington, NC) 
  • Holy Infant (Durham, NC)
  • St. Paul (New Bern, NC)
  • University of North Carolina’s Newman Center

Summary of Abuse Allegations against Father James Behan:

Father James Behan was a priest with the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales order. According to media reports, in 1981, a year after he arrived in the diocese, he was arrested and charged with soliciting crimes against nature. He was found not guilty, but he did receive eight years of therapy after that arrest.

In April 2002, Father Behan was placed on leave after a man alleged he repeatedly sexually abused him when he was a 15-year-old student in 1978, while the priest was teaching religious studies at Northeast Catholic High, an all-boys school, in Philadelphia. The alleged abuse occurred in the rectory of Germantown parish and on trips to North Carolina and Quebec, and continued for two years.

In February 2005, Father Behan pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 12 years of probation. because he had left the state, prosecutors successfully argued that Pennsylvania’s statute of limitations was suspended and did not apply to him. He was also indicted by a Philadelphia grand jury investigating into clergy sex abuse. 

In October 2018, Behan’s name appeared on the Diocese of Raleigh’s list of clergy credibly accused of sex abuse of minors. According to the National Sex Offender Registry, Father Behan currently lives in Elkton, Maryland. 

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 Philadelphia, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those abused by Catholic clergy in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia now have legal options to recover damages due to a compensation fund created for victims.  Call us at (888) 283-9922 or send an email to to discuss your options today.