Father Dennis W. Killion
Diocese of Venice / Oblates of St. Francis de Sales
- 1980-1986: Salesianum High School (Wilmington, DE)
- 1986-1990: Archbishop Wood Boys High School (Warminster, PA)
- 1990-1991: Bishop Ireton High School (Alexandria, VA)
- 1991-2006: Father Judge High School (Philadelphia, PA)
- 2006-2008: Bishop Verot High School (Fort Myers, FL)
Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations Against Father Dennis Killion:
Father Dennis W. Killion belongs to the religious order the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales, based in Wilmington and Philadelphia. Over his career, Killion worked in the Diocese of Wilmington (Delaware), Archdiocese of Philadelphia (Pennsylavania), and in the Diocese of Venice (Florida.) Killion has been named in at least ten lawsuits alleging that he sexually abused minors.
In 2008, four victims came together to file a lawsuit in the Superior Court in Wilmington, Delaware, naming Killion sexually abused them when they were teenagers, and claiming that Catholic officials knew about the abuse but did little or nothing to stop it.
According to the suit, the sexual abuse occurred between 1983 and 1986, when Fr. Dennis Killion was a teacher at Salesianum High School in Wilmington. During the summer of 1985, Killion is accused of molesting Victim 1, a former student, when he was a freshman working at the school’s bookstore. Killion allegedly put his hand down his pants, grabbed him, and ask if the student had lied to him, while threatening to squeeze harder if he lied.
According to Victim 2, Killion allegedly assaulted him from 1983 to 1986, while the student worked in the bookstore, bingo and faculty house, and during a school trip. Killion was accused of soliciting sex from the student in the confessional to “sexually exploit the victim during and after the celebration of a Holy Sacrament.” The allegations state that Killion touched and fondled the student to the point of masturbation. In addition, the victim said that Fr. Killion would give him “special” treatment including money, the teacher’s edition of schoolbooks, and free schoolbooks.
The third Victim accused Killion of sexually assaulting him from 1983 to 1986, while he worked at Salesianum’s bingo and faculty house, and on a school trip. Killion allegedly would engage in heavy petting, touching and fondling to the point of masturbation. The victim said he also received special treatment.
Victim 4 claimed that when he was a freshman in 1985, Killion first assaulted him, allegedly by taking a scooper of ice, grabbing the boy’s pants, pulling them away and saying: “It would be cold if I dropped this down your pants, wouldn’t it?” According to the suit, Killion also shoved his hand down the boy’s pants in another incident.
Two of the four victims initially reported their abuse, but were told he was going to be transferred and to just keep quiet. The lawsuit claims the diocese “created and implemented a ‘Conspiracy of Silence,’ a policy and procedure whereby any and all allegations of sexual misconduct by employees and agents would be squelched, concealed and hidden from the public, parishioners and law enforcement.”
In 2009, more reports and lawsuits were filed against Fr. Killion in Delaware. The eighth victim alleged that Killion sexually abused, harassed, and molested the victim when he was a teenager at Salesianum High School in the 1980s. The victim claims he decided to go public after all those years because he found out that Killion worked as an activities director at another high school and wanted to go public. He stated that he hopes someone of his profession coming forward will help pierce stereotypes about male victims of sexual abuse and encourage others to discuss it. This suits also accused the Catholic Church, the school and Killion’s religious order, the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales, of knowing about the alleged abuse, but allowing Killion to continue teaching.
At the time these allegations first surfaced in 2008, Killion, was working as the activities director at Bishop Verot High School in Florida. Killion was placed on administrative leave and assigned to the Oblates’ retirement facility in Childs, Maryland.
Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of Venice in Florida. If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in Florida, contact our office today. Our lawyers have decades of experience representing survivors of clergy sexual abuse in Florida and nationwide. We can help.