Fr. Gary Ketcham – Diocese of Erie

| Jan 10, 2019 | Abuser Profiles, Catholic Church

Father Gary Ketcham

Diocese of Erie (Franciscan)

Ordination: 1977

Health leave: 1989 – 1990

Suspended: 1998 – 2004

Laicized: 2004

Privately Employed: 2004 – present

Assigned as follows:

  • 1977 – 1984: St. Bonaventure University, Faculty Franciscan Friars (NY)
  • 1983 – 1984: St. Patrick’s (Buffalo, NY)
  • 1984 – 1985: St. John the Baptist (Erie, PA)
  • 1985 – 1989: St. George (Erie, PA)
  • 1989 – 1989: Guest House (Rochester, MN)
  • 1989 – 1990: St. Luke’s Institute (Suitland, MD)
  • 1990 – 1990: St. Patrick’s/St. Hedwig Cluster (Erie, PA)

Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations against Fr. Gary Ketcham:

Fr. Gary Ketcham was ordained a priest in 1977, who served in multiple parishes in the Diocese of Erie. According to media reports, in 2018, he was first named publicly as accused in the PA Grand Jury report. The grand jury report revealed Diocese of Erie officials learned of an accusation against Ketcham for the drunken molestation of two young boys in Mobile, Alabama “sometime prior to 1989.” Ketcham was later charged criminally with two counts of sexual abuse in Baldwin County, Alabama.

He was also sent to inpatient sex-offender treatment at a Diocese of Erie owned treatment facility, Ecclesia Center. As was often the case for priests criminally charged with sexual abuse, the diocese “loaned” him more than $30,000.00 to pay for his attorney. In our experience, the loans are rarely repaid.  Whether they were repaid by Ketcham is unknown. Ketcham would go on to plead guilty on both counts of child abuse and was ordered to pay a $15,000 fine.  He now has a permanent felony record.

Ketcham never returned to active ministry, but he remained a priest until he suddenly requested laicization in 2002.  While the grand jury report is not clear on this point, dozens of Pennsylvania priests requested laicization around this same time. It is likely no coincidence since the scandal in the Archdiocese of Boston became regular national news in January 2002.  Whether Ketcham received any financial compensation or benefits as an “exit package” from the priesthood is unclear, but, in our experience, such an arrangement was common in dioceses across the country. Ketcham was formally laicized in 2004.

His name was included on the Diocese of Erie April 2018 list of clergy credibly accused of child sexual abuse.

Ketcham is believed to be residing in the Erie, Pennsylvania, area. Despite his felony conviction in Alabama, he is not a registered sex offender.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of Erie. 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 Diocese of Erie 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.