Monsignor James Hopkins
Diocese of Erie
Assigned in the Diocese of Erie as follows:
- St. Joseph (Sharon, PA)
- St. Titus (Erie, PA)
- St. Eusebius (East Brady, PA)
- St. Walburga (Titusville, PA)
- St. Thomas the Apostle (Corry, PA)
Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations against Msgr. James Hopkins:
Msgr. James Hopkins was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Buffalo in 1900, who served in multiple parishes in the Diocese of Erie. According to media reports, in 1993 a letter was sent to the Diocese of Erie regarding a sexual abuse from a woman who says that she was sexually abused by Monsignor James P. Hopkins in approximately 1945 when she was 13. According to the letter, it was well-known among the priests at St. Titus that Hopkins would sexually assault the girls that worked in the parish rectory, including the letter writer. Whenever concern was expressed about Hopkins inappropriate behavior, fellow priests and clergy of the Diocese would allegedly reply with some variation of, “Oh well, he’s old, he doesn’t mean anything by it.”
According to an internal summary of Hopkins’ file prepared by the Secretary of Clergy after the woman’s letter was received, there were no other documented complaints of abuse. No one from the Diocese of Erie ever responded to the woman’s letter.
In 1994, she wrote a second letter to Trautman with another copy of the first letter and begging him to please respond. Trautman finally did, glibly telling the woman that, since Hopkins died in 1957, they had no way to investigate the veracity of her claims.
In 2018, he was named publicly as accused in the PA Grand Jury report. His name was also included on the Diocese of Erie’s list of clergy credibly accused of child sexual abuse
Hopkins died as a priest in good standing in 1957.
In July 2020, St. Bonaventure University announced it was changing the name of Hopkins Hall, a building on its campus named after Hopkins, a former student, in light of the abuse allegation. The building will be known as the Administration Building until it is formally renamed.
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.