Fr. Thomas Durkin – Archdiocese of Philadelphia

| Dec 20, 2018 | Abuser Profiles, Catholic Church

Father Thomas Durkin

Archdiocese of Philadelphia

Ordained: 1964

Psychological treatment: 1965, 1966-1967

Suspended: 1966-1967

Left active ministry: 1968

Laicized: 2005

Assigned as follows:

  • 1964-1965: St. Charles Borromeo (Bensalem, PA)
  • 1965-1966: Holy Saviour (Linwood, PA)
  • 1966: Holy Spirit (Sharon Hill, PA)
  • 1966-1967: Suspended (in res., Padua Retreat House)
  • 1967-1968: St. Francis Xavier (Philadelphia, PA)

Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations against Father Thomas Durkin:

Though he had only a brief stint as a Catholic priest, Father Thomas Durkin was accused of abusing at least eight boys during his time in the priesthood.

According to brief summaries provided in the 2005 Grand Jury Report:

  • In 1964 or 1965, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia learned that Durkin was abusing two brothers (ages 11 and 12) at St. Charles Borromeo parish, his very first parish.  The grand jury report states that no action was taken in response to the information.
  • In April 1965, he was again accused of abusing a young boy in the St. Charles Borromeo parish.  He was transferred to Holy Savior in early June 1965.
  • In the summer of 1965, mere weeks after Durkin arrived at Holy Savior, the Archdiocese received yet another complaint about him.  Two more brothers at Holy Savior (ages 11 and 13) said that they were abused by Durkin. The Archdiocese responded by sending him to see a psychiatrist.  He remained in the parish.
  • In 1997, a man came forward to report that he was sexually abused by Durkin as a 14 year old altar boy at Holy Savior parish between 1965 and 1966 – beginning almost immediately after Durkin arrived from St. Charles Borromeo.
  • In 2002, a man of unknown age contacted the Archdiocese to report abuse by Durkin during an unspecified time and at an unspecified parish.  At that time, it was customary for Msgr. William Lynn, the former Secretary for Clergy, to tell victims that there was no point in pursuing reports if the priest was dead or not in active ministry.  It is entirely possible that Lynn told the victim that Durkin had not been in active ministry for more than 30 years and the victim opted to drop the matter before providing additional information.
  • In 2003, another man reported that he was sexually abused by Durkin at Holy Spirit in 1966.  This report prompted the Archdiocese to contact Durkin, who was residing in Hawaii, to “discuss his status with the Archdiocese to be determined by the Vatican.”

As of the 2003 report, Durkin remained a priest, albeit without faculties to minister.  He had never been released from his vows, and the Archdiocese would be responsible for him as he aged.  It appears that Durkin opted to seek voluntary laicization (removal from the priesthood), which was granted by the Vatican in 2005.  Whether he did so for a monetary payout or some other reason is unknown.

As of 2005, Durkin was residing in Hawaii, but his current location 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.

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