Father Thomas Shea
Archdiocese of Philadelphia
Inpatient treatment: 1994-1995
Restricted ministry: 2004
Permanent restrictions: 2005
Assigned as follows:
- 1964-1969: St. Paul (Norristown, PA)
- 1969-1975: St. Helena (Philadelphia, PA)
- 1975-1979: St. Joseph (Collingdale, PA)
- 1979-1980: Old St. Mary’s (Philadelphia, PA)
- 1980-1985: St. Barnabas (Philadelphia, PA)
- 1985-1989: St. Laurence (Upper Darby, PA)
- 1989-1994: St. Clement (Philadelphia, PA)
- 1994-1995: Leave of Absence (Villa St. John Vianney)
Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations against Father Thomas Shea:
Father Thomas Shea was ordained a priest in 1964 and served in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. He served in multiple parishes throughout his career. According to media reports, in October 1994, two allegations that Shea sexually abused underaged boys during his assignments at St. Helena and St. Joseph in the 1970s were reported to church officials. He was removed from ministry and placed on a health-related leave of absence. Shea was sent to Villa St. John Vianney, a notorious treatment facility for pedophile priests in Downingtown, Pennsylvania.
In 2002, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia received a third allegation against Shea. This report indicated he abused four boys during his time at St. Joseph in the mid-1970s. More than two years later, the Archdiocese finally restricted Shea’s ministry; in October 2004, Shea voluntarily surrendered his priestly faculties to forgo the Vatican penal process and defrocking. He made a canonical “plea bargain” to accept a life of “prayer and penance” instead.
Shea is still living and remains a priest of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. According to the Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s website, Shea “has been permanently restricted [from ministry] and faculties to exercise ministry have been permanently withdrawn. He has accepted a supervised life of prayer and penance.” No details have been given about the level or type of daily supervision that he has, or where he is living. He is suspected to be residing at Villa St. Joseph with other accused priests of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.
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