Father Richard Farwell
Diocese of Charlotte
Placed on Leave: 1985, 1999, 2002
Faculties revoked: 2002
Assigned as Follows:
- 1981: St. Ann’s Church (Charlotte, NC)
- 1983: Sacred Heart (Salisbury, NC)
- 1985-1988: Residency in Massachusetts
- 1988: St. Aloysius (Hickory, NC)
- 1991: St. Dorothy (Licolnton, NC)
- 1998: St. Leo Abbey (St. Leo, FL)
- 2000: Queen of the Apostles (Belmont, NC)
- 2000: (Cooper City, FL)
- 2000: St. Joseph’s (Burgaw, NC)
- 2000-2002: Food for the Poor (Deerfield Beach, FL)
Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations against Father Richard Farwell:
Father Richard Farwell was ordained a priest in 1981, and served in multiple parishes in the Diocese of Charlotte. According to media reports, in May 1985, he was placed on administrative leave for reasons that are not entirely clear. The Diocese of Charlotte announced that he was assigned to a “priestly ministry program” in Rhode Island, but was actually sent to House of Affirmation, a notorious treatment facility for pedophile priests in Massachusetts, for treatment. Farwell returned to ministry in the Diocese of Charlotte in July 1988.
Farwell later testified in a 2013 deposition that he stayed at the facility for four months, but that his treatment was for depression, not sexual misconduct of any type. He did admit to attending Love and Sex Addicts Anonymous meetings as part of his treatment.
In February 1999, Father Farwell was accused of abusing a 10-year-old boy over the course of two years in the early 1980s while Farwell was assigned to St. Ann parish. Farwell was again removed from ministry in Charlotte and then sent to work in the Archdiocese of Miami, with the permission and blessing of Charlotte Bishop William Curlin. According to media reports, the victim would not cooperate in the Diocese’s internal investigation into Farwell because he did not want his name made public. Sending Farwell to Miami was no doubt a compromise to control the potential scandal of keeping Farwell in ministry in Charlotte without infringing on his canonical due process rights.
According to media reports, in August 2002, Farwell was charged criminally with two counts of “taking indecent liberties” with a boy in the mid-1980’s. He pled no contest to a lesser charge in November 2004, and was sentenced to 180 days of probation, counseling and community service, according to news reports. His faculties to minister were revoked following the original charges.
One of the victims in the 2002 criminal case, T.T., filed a civil suit was filed against the Diocese of Charlotte and Fr. Richard Farwell in July of 2011. T.T., who has used his name publicly, said he was an altar boy when Farwell began grooming him in the early 1980’s, starting when T.T. was 14-years-old. The victim also claimed that the abuse occurred after he had opened up to Farwell and confided to him that he had been raped by a truck driver while hitch-hiking.
According to the Charlotte Diocese newspaper, in August 2019, Farwell was criminally charged by Rowan County (North Carolina) law enforcement after the 1999 victim came forward again. Farwell remains out on bail.
In April 2020, Farwell was named in a civil lawsuit filed by the 1999 victim.
Richard Farwell denies ever committing sexual misconduct with any minors, including the victim in the criminal proceedings who he pled guilty to abusing. Farwell claimed he took the plea agreement after considering “the reduced life expectancy of priests in prison,” according to news reports. He called T.T. a liar motivated by greed and financial gain.
Farwell has no faculties to minister publicly but continues to be a priest of the Diocese of Charlotte.
Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of Charlotte in North Carolina. If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in North Carolina, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those abused by Catholic clergy in the Diocese of Charlotte now have legal options, but filing deadlines will apply so do not delay in reaching out to us. Our lawyers have decades of experience representing survivors of clergy sexual abuse in North Carolina and nationwide. We can help.