Fr. Thomas DeVita
Diocese of Rockville Centre
Assigned as follows:
- 1979-1980 St. Joseph (Kings Park, NY)
- 1981-1982 St. Gertrude (Bayville, NY)
- 1983-1988 St. James (Seaford, NY)
- 1989-1993 St. Aidan (Williston Park, NY)
- 1994 Unknown
- 1995 Epiphany Cathedral (Venice, FL); St. Rita (Wellington, FL); Our Lady Queen of the Apostles (Royal Palm Beach, FL)
- 1996-1997 Unknown
- 1998-2002 St. Mary of the Lake (New Buffalo, MI)
- 2002-2012 Unknown
Summary of Abuse Allegations Against Father Thomas DeVita:
According to media reports, in 1998, Father Thomas DeVita publicly confessed to having a “sexual relationship” with a 15-year-old boy in 1978, while he was a pastor at St. Joseph’s in Kings Park, New York. He claimed the boy was 16 and the relationship was consensual.
In 1984, the victim’s mother reported the child sexual abuse to Aux. Bishop G. Ryan and he promised to take action. When the mother learned Father DeVita was still active in 1993, she once again complained to the Diocese of Rockville Centre.
“Rape is a horrible thing. It’s a destruction of another person’s life,” DeVita said. “I’m not justifying what happened in 1978 or excusing it, but what happened in 1978 was not a rape or an attack.
“(It) was the right way of sharing affection with someone as opposed to what happened to me in 1961 (referring to his own alleged rape as a 13-year-old boy in the basement of his seminary school by a maintainence man) — except it wasn’t the right way because he was a minor and I was a priest.”
The victim’s mother said she knows how her son felt when he came home after a weekend trip with Father DeVita, and she knows her son did not consent.
“He slammed the door and ran upstairs. Father Tom poked his head in the door and said (her son) got a little hurt. He said, ‘We were horsing around with some teen-agers at my friend’s parish.’ “
The victim was paid a $50,000 settlement in 1993, and Father DeVita was sent for three months of psychiatric treatment. He was then transferred to Florida, where he served briefly in the Palm Beach Diocese. He then joined the Kalamazoo Diocese in Michigan, where he remained an active priest until he was removed from ministry in 2002. He died in 2013.
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