Father Thomas D. Skotek – Diocese of Scranton
Resigned ministry: December 1986, April 2002
Inpatient evaluation: 1986-1987
Faculties removed: June 2002
Assigned as follows:
- 1963 St. Patrick (Milford, PA)
- 1963-1967 Ss. Peter and Paul (Plains, PA)
- 1967-1969 St. Joseph (Wyoming, PA)
- 1969-1972 St. Mary of the Mount (Mt. Pocono, PA)
- 1972-1977 St. Hedwig (Kingston, PA)
- 1977-1980 Lady of Mount Carmel (Lake Silkworth, PA)
- 1980-1985 St. Casimir (Freeland, PA)
- 1985-1986 St. Stanislaus (Hazleton, PA)
- 1987-1999 St. Aloysius (Wilkes-Barre, PA)
- 1999-2002 St. Mary and Ascension (Mocanaqua, PA)
Summary of Abuse Allegations against Father Thomas Skotek:
The case of Father Thomas Skotek is highlighted by the grand jury in its August 2018 report of the misdeeds of the Diocese of Scranton that led to the wholesale sexual abuse of children in its care for decades.
By October 1986, Bishop James Timlin was “fully aware” that Skotek sexually abused a minor female repeatedly between January 1980 and March 1985, according to documents reviewed by the grand jury. In fact, the girl became pregnant and Skotek “aided the girl” in obtaining an abortion. As a result of the assistance with the abortion – not the sexual abuse of a child – Skotek was deemed “irregular,” meaning that he was not fit for ministry. He resigned from St. Stanislaus in October 1986 and was sent for a psychological evaluation at St. Luke’s Institute, a notorious evaluation and treatment facility for pedophile priests in Suitland, Maryland. Less than three months later, he was assigned to St. Aloysius in Wilkes-Barre.
In a letter to Skotek dated October 9, 1986, Timlin said, that this “is a very difficult time in your life, and I realize how upset you are. I too share your grief. How I wish it were not necessary to take this step. With the help of God, who never abandons us and who is always near when we need Him, this too will pass away and all will be able to pick up and go on living.” There is no evidence that he made any contact with the child that Skotek impregnated.
In 1988, the victim contacted the Diocese of Scranton to report that she was struggling with the after-effects of her abuse. In late 1989, she and her parents entered into a monetary settlement with the Diocese of Scranton for $75,000.00. The agreement contained an iron-clad confidentiality provision that forbade the victim and her family from discussing the abuse or the settlement with anyone.
In January 2002, the Diocese of Scranton began receiving additional reports of abuse by Skotek. The first, a 47 year old woman, reported that she was sexually abused by Skotek at Pocono Central Catholic School and while working in the rectory at St. Mary’s. Skotek admitted to the allegations when confronted.
In March 2002, the earlier victim approached the Diocese of Scranton because life circumstances had left her unable to support herself. She obtained another $4,000.00 from Skotek with the assistance of Bishop Timlin.
Despite two allegations of abuse – one of which resulted in a pregnant teenager – Skotek remained in ministry. He was finally removed on June 14, 2002, as Bishop Timlin sat in the US Conference of Catholic Bishops meeting in Dallas, Texas. Child sexual abuse by priests, and the adoption of a new “zero tolerance” policy with transparency, were the main topics of discussion.
Skotek’s name appears on the Diocese of Scranton’s August 2018 list of credibly accused priests.
Skotek is still alive and believed to be residing in the McAdoo, Pennsylvania, area. He is 81 years old. According to the Diocese of Scranton, the Canonical process to remove Skotek from the priesthood is ‘ongoing.’ He is still technically a priest of the Diocese of Scranton. The exact extent of his daily monitoring by the Diocese of Scranton to prevent ongoing harm to children is unknown.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org today.