Fr. James Henry – Archdiocese of Philadelphia

| Dec 18, 2018 | Catholic Church, Sex

Father James Henry

Archdiocese of Philadelphia

Ordained: 1964

Suspended from ministry: 2004

Permanently restricted: 2004

Died: 2018

Assigned as follows:

  • 1964-1969: Immaculate Heart of Mary (Philadelphia, PA)
  • 1969: St. John the Evangelist (Morrisville, PA)
  • 1969-1971: Bishop McDevitt High School (Wyncote, PA)
  • 1969-1971: St. David (Willow Grove, PA)
  • 1971: St. John of the Cross (Roslyn, PA)
  • 1971-1974: St. John Neumann High School
  • 1971-1980: St. Alice (Upper Darby, PA)
  • 1980-1985: Our Lady of Ransom (Philadelphia, PA)
  • 1985-1987: Holy Cross (Springfield, PA)
  • 1987-1988: Our Lady of Lourdes (Philadelphia, PA)
  • 1988: Visitation B.V.M. (Norristown, PA)
  • 1988: St. Helena (Center Square, PA)
  • 1988-1989: St. Joseph (Cheltenham, PA)
  • 1989-1993: St. Michael the Archangel (Levittown, PA)
  • 1993-1995: St. Patrick (Norristown, PA)
  • 1995-2000: Christ the King (Philadelphia, PA)
  • 2000-2004: Our Lady of Good Counsel (Southampton, PA)

Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations against Father James Henry:

In late 1987, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia received a report that Father James Henry sexually abused a 15 year old girl who worked in the Holy Cross rectory.  While the the Philadelphia 2005 Grand Jury Report report was not specific about when the misconduct occurred, it was likely sometime between 1985 and 1987, while Henry was assigned at Holy Cross.

Henry was immediately transferred to Our Lady of Lourdes in Philadelphia.  He was also ordered to undergo a psychological evaluation. Based upon what appears to be the Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s standard modus operandi at the time, the referral for a psychological evaluation suggests that Henry admitted to some type of sexual misconduct when informed of the allegation, but we cannot say that with certainty until we have reviewed his personnel files.

At any rate, Henry returned to active ministry for more than 15 years after the evaluation.

Then, for reasons that are not entirely clear, in 2004 the Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s internal review board was suddenly asked to investigate and make a recommendation on the 1987 allegation.  The committee determined that the 1987 allegation was credible and recommended that Henry be removed from ministry permanently.  Was the review board asked to review the allegation in light of the ongoing grand jury investigation? Did the victim come forward again and insist on some type of accountability? It is not clear. What is clear is that, literally overnight, a priest who was deemed ‘safe’ to return to ministry in 1987 was suddenly a danger to parishioners – and that such a decision should have been as obvious in 1987.

In late 2004, after the review board made its recommendation, Cardinal Justin Rigali permanently restricted Henry’s faculties and asked him to seek voluntary laicization (removal from the priesthood).  When Henry refused, he accepted a compromise that would require him to lead a “supervised life of prayer and penance” in lieu of a Canonical trial.

Henry resided at Villa St. John with other accused priests living “supervised lives of prayer and penance” until his death in March 2018.

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.

Contact us at 888-283-9922 or [email protected] to discuss your options today.