Father Virgil B. Tetherow – Diocese of Scranton
a/k/a Father Gabriel Tetherow
Laicized (removed from the priesthood): 2015
Assigned as follows:
- Tetherow was never formally assigned to a parish of the Diocese of Scranton. He is known to have resided in the rectory at St. Ann (Coolbaugh, PA).
Summary of Abuse Allegations against Father Virgil Tetherow:
According to the grand jury report, Tetherow was ordained for the Diocese of Scranton in 2002 after several years as a professed member/brother of the Franciscan Friars. He originally contacted Bishop James Timlin to set up ministry for the Friars in the Diocese of Scranton and it led to him becoming a priest for the Diocese. Strangely, “Tetherow was never given an assignment in the Diocese but was allowed to reside in the Diocese.” Later media reports suggest that his work was devoted to developing a new religious community in the Diocese of Scranton, but he was always the only member of that Order.
In January 2005, a local police department received information from another priest that child pornography was found on a rectory computer that they somehow connected to Tetherow, which suggests he was residing in a parish rectory at the time. According to media reports, Tetherow resided at St. Ann’s in Coolbaugh, Pennsylvania.
Tetherow later admitted to downloading the child pornography and eventually received two years probation in the related criminal case, which was pled down to criminal use of a communication facility. He later claimed that he did not understand that he was confessing to viewing child pornography, claiming he did not understand the term “download.” He is not required to register as a sex offender because the child pornography charges were dismissed.
The grand jury report does not indicate that Tetherow was the subject of any allegations that he physically touched a child in an inappropriate manner. The Diocese of Scranton’s inclusion of Tetherow’s name on its list of credibly accused priests provides no information on the nature of the allegations its review board found to be credible.
Tetherow now runs a schismatic Catholic Church geographically located in the Diocese of Harrisburg but not related to the Roman Catholic church. Notably, Tetherow was eventually laicized in 2015 not because of the child pornography, but because of his break with the dogma of the Roman Catholic church. Apparently, according to media reports, he has remained close to another convicted priest who broke with Rome, Philip Angelus Ferrara.
As of February 2020, he continues to minister in this capacity, according to the website of St. Michael the Archangel Roman Catholic Church (Windor, PA) a schismatic church that is not overseen by the Diocese of Scranton or Diocese of Harrisburg.
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.