Fr. Dennis Rigney
Diocese of Allentown
Named in civil lawsuit: 2004
Assigned as follows:
- 1966: St. Peter (Reading, PA)
- 1966-1974: Various diocesan chancery assignments
- 1974: St. Peter (Reading, PA)
- 1974-1977: Various diocesan chancery assignments
- 1977-1978: St. Paul (Allentown, PA)
- 1978-1986: Various diocesan chancery assignments
- 1987: St. Francis of Assisi (Allentown, PA)
- 1987-2002: Various diocesan chancery assignments
Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations against Fr. Dennis Rigney:
Fr. Dennis Rigney was ordained a priest in 1966, who served in multiple parishes in the Diocese of Allentown. While it is true that Father Dennis Rigney worked in various administrative positions for most of his 35 year career as a priest, he also had multiple assignments in parish ministry. Additionally, while his assignment history was discussed in great length in the August 2018 Grand Jury report, where he was assigned to live (“in residence”) was not listed. It is entirely possible he lived and did supply ministry at parishes not listed above.
According to media reports, in 1987, the Diocese of Allentown received a letter written to Archbishop Daniel Pilarcyzk of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. In the letter, a woman informed the Archbishop that Rigney fondled her vaginal area when she was about 12 or 13 years old. No additional information about the dates or location of the abuse, or why the victim reported it to Cincinnati, was included in the grand jury summary of documents reviewed.
In 1988, another woman approached the Diocese of Allentown to report that Rigney had digitally penetrated her vagina as a child. In response, Rigney sent the Bishop of Allentown a 23-page document denying the allegations and attempting to discredit the accuser. The grand jury did not disclose the dates of the abuse nor any action taken by the Diocese in response to the allegation.
In 1989, a former employee of Holy Family Manor, where Rigney was either living or working, wrote to Bishop Welsh of the Diocese of Allentown to inform him that she was recently forced to resign her position as a nurse’s aid at HFM because she refused to submit to Rigney’s sexual advances. She told him that it was an ongoing problem with female employees and that she tried to complain about it to her supervisors, who in turn pressured her to resign.
In 2002, another woman reported to the Diocese of Allentown that she was sexually abused by Rigney as a 9 or 10 year old girl in 1966 or 1967. Her sister later told her that Rigney had done the same to her. The abuse is alleged to have occurred at St. Peter’s in Reading, when he took the sisters on a trip to the river to waterski.
Less than two weeks later, Rigney asked the Bishop of Allentown for early retirement, citing medical issues. He is alive, according to the Diocese of Allentown’s August 2018 list of credibly accused perpetrators. He is believed to be residing in Allentown, Pennsylvania.
Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of Allentown. 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 Allentown may have legal options against the Diocese of Allentown.