Father John Schmeer
Archdiocese of Philadelphia
Leave of Absence: 2004
Permanently restricted: 2005
Assigned as follows:
- 1964-1966: Sacred Heart (Havertown, PA)
- 1965: St. James (Philadelphia, PA)
- 1965-1977: Roman Catholic High School (Philadelphia, PA)
- 1966-1967: St. Stanislaus (Philadelphia, PA)
- 1967 St. Rose of Lima (Philadelphia, PA)
- 1967-1971: Sacred Heart (Havertown, PA)
- 1971-1972: Corpus Christi (Philadelphia, PA)
- 1972-1977: St. Barnabas (Philadelphia, PA)
- 1977-1990: Bishop Kenrick High School
- 1977-1990: St. Titus (Norristown, PA)
- 1990-1991: St. Cecilia (Philadelphia, PA)
- 1991-2004: St. Martin of Tours (New Hope, PA)
- 2004-2005: Leave of Absence
Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations against Father John Schmeer:
Father John Schmeer 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 March 2002, a man alleged that he was sexually abused as a 14-year-old boy at Roman Catholic High School in approximately 1967-1968. Multiple incidents occurred in the presence of Father Ernest Durante, who the victim says also had a sexual relationship with Schmeer.
Schmeer denied the allegation when confronted. However, he agreed to undergo a psychological evaluation at Villa St. John Vianney, a notorious treatment facility for pedophile priests in Downingtown, Pennsylvania. In 2003, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia internal review board determined that the allegation was not credible – meaning they believed it was made up by the victim – and Schmeer was returned to ministry, despite the fact that he identified 15 other boys that he believed or knew were also abused by Schmeer.
During the evaluation, Schmeer referred frequently his relationship with Durante, as well as an allegation that he was sexually inappropriate with a parish cook in the mid-1970s.
In 2004, two more men came forward to report abuse by Schmeer. The first alleged that his abuse occurred in the summer of 1986 when he was 15 years old. The second alleged abuse in 1968 while he was a student at Roman Catholic High School.
Schmeer was removed from ministry and took a personal leave of absence while the review board investigated the allegations. Ultimately, this time the review board determined that the allegations were credible – this time they believed the victims – and Schmeer was permanently restricted from ministry by Cardinal Rigali. He later accepted revocation of his faculties and a life of prayer and penance in lieu of the more complicated process of defrocking him by the Vatican.
Schmeer is still alive and a priest of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. He is believed to be residing at Villa St. Joseph with other accused priests of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia leading “supervised lives of prayer and penance.” The level of his daily supervision is unknown.
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.