Father Gary L. Ketcham, O.F.M.
Diocese of Erie
Health leave: 1989 – 1990
Suspended: 1998 – 2004
Privately Employed: 2004 – present
Assigned as follows:
- 1977 – 1984 St. Bonaventure University, Faculty Franciscan Friars (NY)
- 1983 – 1984 St. Patrick’s (Buffalo, NY)
- 1984 – 1985 Parochial Vicar, St. John the Baptist (Erie, PA)
- 1985 – 1989 Parochial Vicar, St. George (Erie, PA)
- 1989 – 1989 Health Leave, Guest House (Rochester, MN)
- 1989 – 1990 Health Leave, St. Luke’s Institute (Suitland, MD)
- 1990 – 1990 Health Leave, St. Patrick’s/St. Hedwig Cluster (Erie, PA)
Summary of Allegations against Father Gary L. Ketcham:
According to the grand jury report, Diocese of Erie officials learned of an accusation against Ketchem for the drunken molestation of two young boys in Mobile, Alabama “sometime prior to 1989.” Ketcham was later charged criminally with two counts of sexual abuse in Baldwin County, Alabama. He was also sent to inpatient sex-offender treatment at a Diocese of Erie owned treatment facility, Ecclesia Center. As was often the case for priests criminally charged with sexual abuse, the diocese “loaned” him more than $30,000.00 to pay for his attorney. In our experience, the loans are rarely repaid. Whether they were repaid by Ketcham is unknown.
Ketcham would go on to plead guilty on both counts of child abuse and was ordered to pay a $15,000 fine. He now has a permanent felony record.
Ketcham never returned to active ministry, but it appears that he remained a priest until he suddenly requested laicization in 2002. While the grand jury report is not clear on this point, dozens of Pennsylvania priests requested laicization around this same time. It is likely no coincidence since the scandal in the Archdiocese of Boston became regular national news in January 2002. Whether Ketcham received any financial compensation or benefits as an “exit package” from the priesthood is unclear, but, in our experience, such an arrangement was common in dioceses across the country. Ketcham was formally laicized in 2004.
Ketcham is alive and believed to be residing in the Erie, Pennsylvania, area. Despite his felony conviction in Alabama, he is not a registered sex offender.
Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of Erie. 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 Erie 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.