Fr. Martin Boylan – Diocese of Scranton

Fr. Martin Boylan – Diocese of Scranton

Fr. Martin BoylanOrdained:    1980

Absent on Leave: 1993-1994

Known Psychological Evaluation/Treatment:  1993, 1997, 2004, 2016

Removed from Ministry:  April 2016

Assigned as follows:

  • 1980 –1982:     St. Jude, Mountaintop, PA
  • 1982 – 1983:         St. Gabriel, Hazleton, PA
  • 1983 – 1985:         St. Patrick, Scranton, PA
  • 1985 – 1986:         St. Peter, Scranton, PA
  • 1986 –1986:         Blessed Sacrament, Wilkes -Barre, PA
  • 1986 – 1987:         St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception, Wilkes -Barre, PA
  • 1987 –1988:         Bishop Hannan High School, Scranton, PA
  • 1988 – 1989:          St. Pius X Seminary, Dalton, PA
  • 1989 – 1993:         Marywood College, Scranton, PA
  • 6/1993 – 1/1994:     Sabbatical leave
  • 1994 – 2001:         St. Rita, Gouldsboro, PA
  • 2001 – 2007:         St. John the Evangelist, Honesdale, PA
  • 2007 – 2009:         St. Joseph, White Mills, PA
  • 2009 – 2011:         St’s. Peter and Paul, Towanda, PA, St. Michael, Canton, PA, St. John Nepomucene, Troy, PA and St. Aloysius, Ralston, PA
  • 2011-2016:        St. Patrick, Scranton, PA
  • 2016-Present:        Leave of Absence

Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations against Fr. Martin Boylan:

In April 1993, an adult male student at Marywood College approached the Diocese of Scranton and reported that Boylan sexually harassed him and outright propositioned the student for sex.  Boylan was removed from his post and sent to a notorious treatment facility for sexually abusive priests, Villa St. John Vianney in Downington, Pennsylvania, no doubt given the homosexual nature of the allegations.  In our experience, had the victim been an adult female the same precaution would not have been taken, but given the Church’s hard line stance on homosexuality being a sin, this time there was a potential for scandal.

Following his evaluation, Boylan was supposed to take a leave of absence of ministry to undergo two to three years of outpatient therapy.  However, his assignment history suggests he did not do so.

He underwent subsequent evaluations in 1994, 1997, and 2004, though the Grand Jury report is not clear why.  Such follow-up would hardly be considered “routine” in our experience, which suggests additional issues may have arisen with Boylan during his tenure in the Diocese of Scranton.

According to media reports, the 1993/1994 evaluation recommended that Boylan not ever be assigned as a pastor of a parish, particularly given his obstinance with his therapists at Downington.  The Review Board of the Diocese of Scranton continuously objected to Boylan’s regular and repeated requests for a pastorate on this basis. However, the Bishop of Scranton overruled those objections each time and assigned him as the head of parishes repeatedly, despite the risk it posed to parishioners.  According to his assignment history, Boylan was appointed pastor at seven different parishes in the 20 years that followed his initial evaluation.

According to an April 2016 letter from a former Review Board member, “the board always objected to this possibility. Nevertheless, Timlin appointed him pastor and Boylan continued to consistently appear at public events throughout the diocese.”  In fact, the Board recommended that Boylan return to Downington for evaluation in 1996, but the Diocese of Scranton ignored it.

In March 2016, an 18 year old male reported to the Diocese of Scranton (through another Diocese) that he had been sodomized by Boylan in 2006 as an 8 year old boy when he attended a summer event at St. Vincent’s Camp in Honesdale, Pennsylvania, more than 10 years after the initial evaluation.  Boylan denied the allegation and claimed not to remember the victim. His faculties were immediately suspended and he was removed from ministry. He was “encouraged,” but not required, to undergo inpatient treatment in Downington following the allegation, and he complied.

In April 2016, another male called the Diocese of Scranton and reported that he, too, was propositioned by Boylan while he attended Marywood University in 1983.

In May 2016, yet another former parishioner called the Diocese of Scranton to report that he was sexually abused by Boylan in 1984.  The Grand Jury report provided no further details about the allegation except that it resulted in a criminal investigation by Pennsylvania State Police that was later closed due to the victim’s unwillingness to testify in open court.  In our experience, this is not uncommon. When faced with a popular priest who denies the allegations and wants to air the victim’s identities and secrets for the general public, even the strongest individual often stops cooperating with law enforcement, particularly if they are the only victim driving the investigation, or if they perceive that the diocese is creating additional obstacles.

Through an attorney, Boylan fought his inclusion in the 2018 Grand Jury report, claiming that because no criminal charges had ever been filed against him, the allegations “amounted to nothing.”  The Bishop of Scranton included Boylan on the list of priests credibly accused of sexual abusing minors, which means that the Diocese of Scranton’s internal review had determined that at least one of the allegations against Boylan had merit.

Boylan remains suspended from ministry in the Diocese of Scranton.  He is believed to be residing in the Scranton area, and is likely still receiving financial support and benefits from the Diocese of Scranton.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of Scranton.  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 Scranton now have legal options to recover damages due to a compensation fund created for victims.  Contact us at (954) 641-2100 or today.