John McDevitt – Archdiocese of Philadelphia

| Jul 19, 2020 | Catholic Church

Father John “Jack” McDevitt

Archdiocese of Philadelphia

Ordained: 1966

Died: 1999

Assigned as follows:

  • 1967-1968      Salesianum School (Wilmington, DE)
  • 1968-1980      Northeast Catholic High School (Philadelphia, PA)
  • 1980-1982      Bishop McDevitt HS (Harrisburg, PA) 
  • 1982-1989      Salesianum School (Wilmington, DE)
  • 1989-1994      Father Judge High School (Philadelphia, PA)
  • 1994-1999      DeSales Centre (Childs MD) 

Summary of Abuse Allegations against Father John “Jack” McDevitt:

Father John McDevitt, (aka “Uncle Jack”), was a member of the Oblates of St. Francis DeSales, and ordained a priest in 1966. He served in multiple parishes throughout his career in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. He once served on the Philadelphia City Council and was one of the founders and served as first president of the Summerdale Boys’ Club. He was also the founding president of the Northeast-Suburban Athletic Conference. He taught theology at several high schools in Delaware, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. He retired in 1994 and died in October 1999. 

According to media reports, in April 2009, Father McDevitt was named in a civil suit alleging he sexually abused a male student at Salesianum School in Wilmington during his junior year from 1985 through 1986. In June 2009, the nephew of Cardinal John J.O’Connor, the former head of the Archdiocese of New York, filed a lawsuit in Delaware alleging Father McDevitt sexually abused him as a 14-year-old student at Father Judge High School in Philadelphia from 1990 through 1991. The order had already removed him from the school. The suit stated that the priest knew he was related to the cardinal and used that information to intimidate the boy. He left the school after his freshman year, stating in the suit that he could no longer take the abuse.

According to the suit, “He threatened him with low grades in his religion class in order to entice him into private tutoring sessions, and during the private tutoring sessions, he proceeded to sexually abuse the plaintiff.”

According to abuse survivor accounts, Father McDevitt also molested children at Camp Brisson, a boys’ summer camp in Cecil County, Maryland, which was run by the Oblates.

In August 2011, as part of the Oblates $24.8 million settlement resolving 40 civil lawsuits brought under the Delaware Child Victims act against the religious order, Father McDevitt was one of twelve names released.

In August 2018, Father McDevitt’s name was included on the Diocese of Harrisburg’s list of clergy credibly accused of sex abuse of minors, as well as the Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report, which included the account of a male who stated that Father McDevitt tried to forcibly kiss him while in high school.

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.