Father Theodore Podson
Archdiocese of Philadelphia
Assigned as follows:
- Calasanctius School (Buffalo, NY)
- St. Francis Catholic Church (Amarillo, TX)
- Devon Prep School (Devon, PA)
Summary of Abuse Allegations against Father Theodore Podson:
Father Theodore Podson, a priest of the Piarist order, was considered a “cool” teacher for many years in the late 1970s and early 1980s at Calasanctius School for gifted children in Buffalo, NY. He was known for leading week long field trips across the country with students.
According to media reports, in 1993, he was suspended from his position at Devon Prep School in Pennsylvania amid allegations he repeatedly sexually abused a male seventh or eighth grade student while on a trip to Greece. He was sent to St. Luke’s Institute, a church-run hospital in Maryland for treatment. He was not publicly identified, charged or removed from active ministry.
In 1994, he was one of five religious order priests identified as “guilty of sexual misconduct with a minor,” on a list compiled by Monsignor William J. Lynn. By 1995, he served as pastor and prison chaplain at St. Francis Church in Amarillo, Texas. He resigned suddenly in June 2002, three days after the U.S. Conference of Bishops stated it would remove any priest who had sexually abused minors.
By 2003, Father Podson relocated to the Philippines and worked as a hospital chaplain on the island of Cebu. In August 2012, he was removed from ministry after a series of articles in the Philadelphia Inquirer traced his path from Buffalo, where his conduct at Calasanctius was questioned, to Philadelphia, where he was accused of sexually abusing a 13-year-old boy on a class trip.
In August 2018, a spokesman for the Diocese of Buffalo said, “In 2003, the Diocese of Buffalo received a complaint against Father Podson alleging abuse many years earlier. In accordance with the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, the Diocese forwarded the complaint to the Piarist Provincial and to the Archdiocese of Washington where Father Podson was listed as a resident at the time.”
In November 2018, Father Podson’s name appeared on the Diocese of Buffalo’s updated list of clergy credibly accused of sex abuse of minors. He was accused in 2019 in two Child Victims Act lawsuits of molesting a 12-year-old student and a 13-year-old student while he taught at Calasanctius.
He was granted Filipino citizenship, and currently lives on a small island in the Philippines, where he has promoted himself as a mentor to teenagers and rented an apartment that he opened up to “teen scholars.” In the citizenship petition, posted online, a local legislator wrote: “Father Podson has greatly contributed to the moral, spiritual and social growth of the Philippines.”
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 email@example.com to discuss your options today.