Father Gerard Chambers
Archdiocese of Philadelphia
Placed on leave: Went on “Health Leave” 7 different times
Suits Filed: 2004
Assigned as follows:
- 1934-1935: St. Joseph (Jim Thorpe, PA)
- 1935-1936: St. Thomas the Apostle (Chester Heights, PA)
- 1936: St. Joseph (Reading, PA)
- 1936-1937: St. Mary Magdalen (Lost Creek, PA)
- 1937-1939: St. Canicus (Mahanoy City, PA)
- 1939-1941: St. Monica (Berwyn, PA)
- 1941-1943: St. Francis De Sales (Lenni, PA)
- 1943-1954: Health Leave
- 1944-1945: Our Lady of Mt. Carmel (Doylestown, PA)
- 1945-1947: St. Rose of Lima (North Wales, PA)
- 1947-1948: St. Mary of the Assumption (Coaldale, PA)
- 1948-1949: St. Patrick (McAdoo, PA)
- 1949-1955: Health Leave (3x)
- 1955-1956: Nativity B.M. V. (Philadelphia, PA)
- 1956-1957: Health Leave (Villa Saint Joseph )
- 1957: St. Francis Orphanage (Orwigsburg, PA)
- 1957-1959: St. Gregory (Philadelphia, PA)
- 1959-1960: Seven Dolors (Wyndmoor, PA)
- 1960-1961: Health Leave (Villa Saint Joseph )
- 1961: St. Madeleine Sophie (Philadelphia, PA)
- 1961-1963: St. Gabriel (Stowe, PA)
- 1963-1974: Health Leave, Villa Saint Joseph
Summary of Allegations Against Father Gerard Chambers:
According to the Philadelphia 2005 Grand Jury Report, Father Gerard Chambers was accused of molesting numerous altar boys, and of anally and orally raping at least one, during his 40 years as a priest in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Nearly half of those years were spent on “health leaves” and in treatment facilities.
The report alleges that each time Father Chambers returned to ministry, he was assigned to a parish with full access to children. Once, after three successive sick leaves totaling more than six years, he was assigned as chaplain to an orphanage for boys. When Father Chambers was not on sick leave, he was moved from parish to parish. The Archdiocese of Philadelphia assigned him to 17 parishes in his 21 years of active ministry.
The report also states that church officials in 1994 claim to have destroyed all of Father Chambers’ personnel records covering his career in ministry. Beginning in 1994 four of his victims came forward to the Archdiocese of Philadelphia to talk about their abuse. The victims were from his fourteenth and fifteenth assignments – Saint Gregory, in West Philadelphia; and Seven Dolors, in Wyndmoor.
One rape victim allegedly tried to commit suicide and has been institutionalized at a state mental hospital. Two of his brothers were also victims of Father Chambers and are still haunted by their abuse more than 40 years later. The report claims that they named several other boys from Saint Gregory whom the priest had abused. One of the brothers testified that he believed Father Chambers “sexually abused every altar boy and quite frequently those who weren’t altar boys.”
The brothers of the institutionalized victim expressed anger before the Grand Jury because they know the Archdiocese of Philadelphia could have prevented the abuse that ruined their brother’s life. They, too, could tell from the list of Father Chambers’ transfers that Church officials had to have known of the priest’s crimes from the time of his earliest assignments. Father Chambers was constantly transferred, at odd times of the year, sometimes after only months in assignments, and his career was interrupted repeatedly for “health leave.”
Father Chambers was placed on permanent health leave in 1963, at the age of 56. He died in 1974.
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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.