Father Frank Pavone
Archdiocese of New York
- 1988-2005: to St. Charles’s Church (Staten Island, NY)
- 1993-2022: Priest for Life and Holy See’s Pontifical Council for the Family
- 2005-2022: Diocese of Amarillo, TX
Summary of Abuse Allegations Against Father Frank Pavone:
Frank Pavone was a priest and pro-life activist that worked in the Archdiocese of New York and the Diocese of Amarillo, Texas. Pavone was the national director of Priests for Life and the chairman and pastoral director of its Rachel’s Vineyard project. According to recent news reports, in 2022, Pavone was laicized after multiple allegations of sexual misconduct toward several Priests for Life employees were reported to each Diocese during or before 2010. The news reports stated that Pavone was transferred to Texas in 2005, where he was incardinated. Proceedings to have Pavone removed from clerical duties began in 2017 after Amarillo Bishop Patrick J. Zurek stated Pavone had years of “disobedience and scandalous behavior,” yet they kept him active until 2022. Notably, Amarillo Bishop Patrick J. Zurek issued a letter in 2014 attesting that Pavone was a priest in “good standing” who “had never been suspended,” even though Zurek had suspended Pavone for disobedience in 2011. Pavone was dismissed from the priesthood and laicized by decree of the Dicastery for the Clergy for “blasphemous communications on social media” and “persistent disobedience of the lawful instructions of his diocesan bishop.” The prefect of the Dicastery for the Clergy wrote a letter dated November 9, 2022, explaining that the decision was not open to appeal.
According to the media reports, one of the allegations was made by a woman who had filed a report in 2009. The woman stated in an interview that she was a 20-year-old in the 1990s when she was Pavone’s assistant and suffered the abuse. She said she had been subjected to numerous physical advances, some of which took place in the presence of fellow employees at the office and in public locations. She also said her experiences with Pavone left emotional and spiritual scars, making employment, relationships, and the practice of her faith difficult. A diocesan employee wrote the notes that summarized the woman’s complaint. Another former priest for Life employee, Father Stephen Imbarrato, gave an account of how, while he was working at the nonprofit from 2015 to 2018, he had counseled one staffer for more than two years over sexual harassment she had allegedly experienced from Pavone. Imbarrato stated, “She made it clear she was uncomfortable with his inappropriate advances. It did not stop, and I actually personally confronted (then-Father) Frank about the situation, and it still did not stop. And she was eventually forced to quit.”
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