Fr. George Costigan – Archdiocese of Philadelphia

| Jul 14, 2020 | Catholic Church, Sex

Father George Costigan

Archdiocese of Philadelphia


Ordained: 1974

Removed: 1994

Died: 2015

Assigned as follows:

  • 1947-1948:      Ammendale Normal Inst., Bros. of the Christian Schools (Ammendale/Beltsville, MD)
  • 1948-1952:      De La Salle College (Washington, DC)
  • 1952-1953:      Philadelphia Protectory for Boys (Phoenixville, PA)
  • 1953-1954:      St. John’s College High School (Washington, DC)
  • 1954-1956:      Holy Family Community (Ammendale / Beltsville, MD)
  • 1956-1957:      Philadelphia Protectory for Boys (Phoenixville, PA)
  • 1957-1958:      St. Francis Vocational School (Eddington, PA)
  • 1958-1961:     Holy Family Community (Ammendale / Beltsville, MD)
  • 1961-1965:     West Philadelphia Catholic High School for Boys (Philadelphia, PA)
  • 1965-1970:      Holy Family Community (Ammendale / Beltsville, MD)
  • 1970-1971:      St. Bartholomew’s parish (San Manuel, AZ)
  • 1970-1971:      St. Helen’s (Oracle, AZ)
  • 1971-1974:      Immaculate Conception Seminary (Darlington, NJ)
  • 1974-1975:      St. Cecilia’s (Rockaway, NJ)
  • 1975-1993:      Dover General Hospital (Dover, NJ)
  • 1993-2001:      Felician Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi Convent (Mt. Arlington, NJ)
  • 2002-2004:      (Puentenansa, Spain)
  • 2004:                Felician Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi Convent (Mt. Arlington, NJ)
  • 2006:                 Hurricane Katrina relief (Huntsville, AL)

Summary of Allegations against Father George Costigan:

Father George Costigan took vows as a Christian Brother in 1948, and called himself Brother Daniel Eliseus. He left the Christian Brothers in 1971. After training at Immaculate Conception Seminary in Darlington NJ, in the Archdiocese of Newark he was ordained a diocesan priest in 1974. He worked and lived in at least five dioceses, including the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, and was incardinated in the Diocese of Paterson NJ. He lived for one year in a parish with a school, and then worked as a hospital chaplain. He was also assigned as priest among members of a women’s religious order running a retreat center catering to diocesan youth groups.

According to media reports, in November 1993, an adult female accused Father Costigan of sexually abusing her multiple times, starting when she was eight years old in 1965 through 1972. Father Costigan denied the accusation. At the time of the alleged abuse, Father Costigan was a close friend of the victim’s father and a Christian Brother teaching at West Philadelphia Catholic High School for Boys in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. The alleged abuse, which is said to have included rape, continued until she attempted suicide as a sophomore in high school.

That same year, Bishop Rodimer of Paterson changed Father Costigan’s status to “retired” and re-assigned him as a chaplain to the Felician sisters convent in Mount Arlington, NJ, where the nuns ran a youth retreat house next door. He was removed from ministry in April 1994.

From approximately 2002 through 2004, Father Costigan lived in Puentenansa, Spain, where he had previously gone on pilgrimage in 1994. He later returned to Mount Arlington.

In 2006, Father Costigan was named auxiliary contract chaplain. He worked at the Army’s Redstone Arsenal doing Katrina relief work in Huntsville, AL. despite restricted status in Paterson.

In 2007, Father Costigan violated the terms of his suspension passing himself off as a priest at a Pennsylvania parish. Bishop Serratelli sent him a letter warning him that he could lose benefits. The Diocese of Paterson also sent alert letters in August 2007 to various places where Father Costigan worked or lived throughout the years, including St. Clare’s Hospital, Sacred Heart parish in Rockaway, the Felician Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi Convent in Mount Arlington, NJ, and to the Diocese of Birmingham.

In 2009, Father Costigan presented himself again as an active priest. According to media reports, in 2011, amidst the decision of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia to suspend 29 priests following an investigation of an alleged sex scandal, one woman reported that he had sexually abused her as a child. The priest was her father’s best friend.

In August 2011, Father Costigan’s name appeared on the Diocese of Tucson’s list of clergy credibly accused of sex abuse of minors. He died in September 2015. In February 2019, his name appeared on the Diocese of Paterson’s list.

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.