Father Edward DePaoli
Archdiocese of Philadelphia
Placed on leave: 1985-1988, 1992-2004
Assigned as follows:
- 1970-1975: Our Lady of Mt. Carmel (Doylestown, PA)
- 1971-1975: Newman Apostolate
- 1975-1979: Mother of Divine Providence (King of Prussia, PA)
- 1979-1985: Bishop McDevitt High School (Wyncote, PA)
- 1979: St. Isidore (Quakertown, PA)
- 1979-1980: St. Albert Great (Huntingdon Valley, PA)
- 1980-1985: Holy Martyrs (Oreland, PA)
- 1985-1988: Faculties Removed/Suspended
- 1985-1987: Saint John Vianney Center
- 1987: Saint Luke Institute (Maryland)
- 1987: Saint John Vianney Center (inpatient treatment)
- 1987-1988: House of Affirmation (Hopedale, MA)
- 1988: Golden Valley Health Center (MN)
- 1988: Private Residence (Royersford, PA)
- 1988-1991: Saint John Vianney Church (Colonia, NJ)
- 1991-1992: St. John the Baptist (Philadelphia, PA)
- 1992-2004: Administrative Leave
- 1992-1995: Immaculate Conception (Philadelphia, PA)
- 1995-2002: St. Gabriel (Stowe, PA)
Summary of Allegations Against Father Edward DePaoli:
Father Edward DePaoli was ordained a priest in 1970 and served in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. He served in multiple parishes throughout his career. According to the Philadelphia 2005 Grand Jury Report, he was convicted in 1986 of receiving child pornography through the mail. A 1985 search by U.S. Postal Inspectors of his rectory room at Holy Martyrs Church in Oreland turned up an estimated $15,000 worth of pornography. Child pornography – including 111 magazines, 14 8mm films, and 11 videotapes – were seized from under Father DePaoli’s bed. At the time he was teaching morals and ethics at an Archdiocese high school.
Father DePaoli’s criminal behavior and the Archdiocese’ of Philadelphia concealment of it followed familiar patterns, including transfers to parishes where parents were unaware of the priest’s past, official intimidation of a concerned witness, and the filing of records claiming restrictions that were not enforced. After his arrest in 1986, Father DePaoli went for treatment, which proved unsuccessful. He was diagnosed with a sexual compulsion and relapsed repeatedly –purchasing child pornography even while residing at a treatment center.
According to the Grand Jury Report, in February 1988, Archbishop Bevilacqua ignored the advice of the priest’s doctor and the Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s Chancellor to keep Father DePaoli in Philadelphia for therapy. Instead, he arranged an assignment for the priest in Colonia, New Jersey, where his crime and sexual addiction would be unknown to his parishioners. Father DePaoli eventually returned to Philadelphia in 1991 and continued to minister until December 2002, though without a formal assignment for part of the time. He was allowed to minister despite reports to the Archdiocese of Philadelphia that his addiction to pornography continued, that he made sexual comments about an 8th-grade girl during a sermon, and even that he had molested a 12-year-old girl years earlier. A nun in 1996 informed officials that she was worried about the safety of the children in her parish. She was fired for speaking out. Father DePaoli’s ministry, however, continued.
The Archdiocese of Philadelphia was well aware that he was performing marriages and baptisms, hearing confessions, concelebrating Mass, and preaching nearly every Sunday at Saint Gabriel of the Sorrowful Mother in Stowe, where he had resided in the rectory since 1995. Yet, in December 2002, when news stories reported that the convicted collector of child pornography was still ministering, Cardinal Bevilacqua claimed the priest was being disobedient. The Cardinal had his spokesperson, Catherine Rossi, tell reporters that Father DePaoli had been stripped of all his priestly duties immediately after the 1985 incident, but failed to mention that they had been fully reinstated before Father DePaoli returned to active and unrestricted ministry in 1988. After telling a victim he believed her allegation that the priest had molested her, Cardinal Bevilacqua assured the public that he was “not a danger to anyone.”
DePaoli was laicized in 2004.
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Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. 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 Archdiocese of Philadelphia may have legal options, but filing deadlines will apply so please do not delay in reaching out to us.