Fr. Thomas DeVita – Diocese of Rockville Centre

| Jan 19, 2020 | Catholic Church, Sex

Fr. Thomas DeVita

Diocese of Rockville Centre

Ordained: 1978

Removed: 2002

Died: 2013

Assigned as follows:

  • 1979-1980      St. Joseph (Kings Park, NY)
  • 1981-1982      St. Gertrude (Bayville, NY) 
  • 1983-1988      St. James (Seaford, NY)
  • 1989-1993      St. Aidan (Williston Park, NY) 
  • 1994                Unknown 
  • 1995                 Epiphany Cathedral (Venice, FL); St. Rita (Wellington, FL); Our Lady Queen of the Apostles (Royal Palm Beach, FL) 
  • 1996-1997       Unknown
  • 1998-2002       St. Mary of the Lake (New Buffalo, MI)
  • 2002-2012      Unknown

Summary of Abuse Allegations Against Father Thomas DeVita:

According to media reports, in 1998, Father Thomas DeVita publicly confessed to having a “sexual relationship” with a 15-year-old boy in 1978, while he was a pastor at St. Joseph’s in Kings Park, New York. He claimed the boy was 16 and the relationship was consensual.

In 1984, the victim’s mother reported the child sexual abuse to Aux. Bishop G. Ryan and he promised to take action. When the mother learned Father DeVita was still active in 1993, she once again complained to the Diocese of Rockville Centre

“Rape is a horrible thing. It’s a destruction of another person’s life,” DeVita said. “I’m not justifying what happened in 1978 or excusing it, but what happened in 1978 was not a rape or an attack.

“(It) was the right way of sharing affection with someone as opposed to what happened to me in 1961 (referring to his own alleged rape as a 13-year-old boy in the basement of his seminary school by a maintainence man) — except it wasn’t the right way because he was a minor and I was a priest.”

The victim’s mother said she knows how her son felt when he came home after a weekend trip with Father DeVita, and she knows her son did not consent.

“He slammed the door and ran upstairs. Father Tom poked his head in the door and said (her son) got a little hurt. He said, ‘We were horsing around with some teen-agers at my friend’s parish.’ “

The victim was paid a $50,000 settlement in 1993, and Father DeVita was sent for three months of psychiatric treatment. He was then transferred to Florida, where he served briefly in the Palm Beach Diocese. He then joined the Kalamazoo Diocese in Michigan, where he remained an active priest until he was removed from ministry in 2002. He died in 2013.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of Rockville Centre in New York.  If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in New York, contact our office today. In October 2020, the Rockville Centre Diocese filed for federal bankruptcy protection.  The Court will resolve all claims of sexual abuse in this process but strict filing deadlines will apply and no late claims will be considered, so contact us today.  Our lawyers have decades of experience representing survivors of clergy sexual abuse in New York and nationwide. We can help. 

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