Fr. John Bostwick – Archdiocese of Baltimore

On Behalf of | Apr 10, 2023 | Abuser Profiles, Catholic Church

Fr. John Bostwick III

Archdiocese of Baltimore/Richmond/Harrisburg

John Bostwick III Horowitz Law


Ordained: 1969

Removed: 1996

Assignment History

  • 1969-1972: Our Lady of Lourdes (Richmond, VA)
  • 1972-1974: Ascension Catholic Church (Halethorpe, MD)
  • 1974-1976: Saint Rita Catholic Church (Dundalk, MD) 
  • 1976-1985: Mount Saint Mary College (Emmitsburg, MD) and St. Catherine Laboure (Harrisburg, PA)
  • 1985-1987: Saint George (Scottsville, VA)
  • 1987-1989: Saint John Neumann (Powhatan, VA)
  • 1989: Holy Cross ( Lynchburg, VA)
  • 1990-1992: St. Leo the Great (Lancaster, PA)
  • 1992-1996: Saint Peter Parish and Assumption Parish (Franklin, LA)

Summary of Abuse Allegations Against Father John Raymond Bostwick III:

Father John Bostwick III was a Catholic priest who was ordained in the Archdiocese of Baltimore and worked in multiple parishes in Maryland, Richmond, VA, Harrisburg, PA, and LA. Fr. Bostwick is listed on the Archdiocese of Baltimore’s Credibly Accused of Sexual Abuse of Minors list. In April 2023, Maryland’s Attorney General released a report alleging 156 Catholic clergy members sexually abused at least 600 children over six decades. The report lists the names of the abusers, including Father Bostwick. 

According to the report, Fr. Bostwick had a checkered history with a series of assignments to parishes in multiple states, each marked by conflict, until his suspension by the Diocese of Richmond in 1996. In 1987, Bostwick was instructed to undergo counseling, and in 1989 Bostwick was sent to the House of Affirmation in Whitinsville, Massachusetts, for a psychological evaluation. However, Bostwick refused to reveal the results of the testing and was unassigned to a parish for a period of roughly one year. In 1990, Bishop Harry Flynn of the Diocese of Lafayette, Louisiana, informed Bishop Sullivan of the Diocese of Richmond that he would be happy to receive Bostwick. In 1992, he was assigned to the Diocese of Lafayette at the request of his friend, a Lafayette Bishop. Later in April 1992, Bishop Sullivan learned that Bostwick was evaluated while in Harrisburg with a finding that Bostwick “loved little children, but avoided older children, especially those in high school.” When the abuse allegations surfaced, he was suspended from duties and sent for treatment. 

On April 5, 1996, a man reported to the Diocese of Richmond that Bostwick sexually abused him as a 12-year-old boy in 1980-1982 while Bostwick was at Saint Catherine Laboure in Harrisburg. As described in the Report of the Pennsylvania Grand Jury, “Bostwick befriended a family and eventually stayed overnight at their house. The family had a boy between 12 and 14 years of age. The boy drank beer with Bostwick, and Bostwick fondled the boy’s genitals. Bostwick took the boy to St. Mary’s Seminary when school was out of session. Bostwick fondled the boy’s genitals while the boy was sleeping overnight. The last incident involved Bostwick attempting to have the boy touch Bostwick’s genitals. The boy became scared and locked himself in a room. The boy remembered Bostwick becoming emotional, falling to the floor, crying, and apologizing to the boy. Bostwick expressed his regret.” On April 16, 1996, Bishop Sullivan placed Bostwick on administrative leave and ordered him to return to Richmond. 

On August 6, 1996, another victim came forward. According to the Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report, “during the summer of 1987, the victim was between 14 and 15 years old and went to Bostwick’s home in Virginia. Bostwick attempted to ‘make genital contact with him’ but did not persist when the then-boy rejected his attempt.” The same victim later elaborated in 2002 that “he passed out from drinking alcohol while he watched a movie with Bostwick. He woke up in another room when Bostwick reached for his genitals, and he stopped Bostwick from making contact.” 

In December 1989, Bishop Walter Sullivan of the Diocese of Richmond wrote a letter to the Diocese of Harrisburg Chancery Office regarding Father Bostwick’s unapproved service in Harrisburg at St. Catherine Laboure church. Sullivan said that Bostwick was uncooperative with the Bishop’s directive that he attend counseling. Despite his insubordination, Bostwick was not suspended, but the Diocese of Richmond did not give him any more assignments in Richmond. Father Bostwick officially received permission to minister outside of the Diocese of Richmond in 1990.

In 1996, Bostwick was on loan to Mt. St. Mary’s College in Maryland when he was accused of sexual abuse of a boy from 1980 to 1982 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.  According to the allegation, Father Bostwick became close to a family and eventually stayed at their home overnight. The family had a boy between 12 and 14 years old. They drank beer together, and the priest allegedly fondled the boy’s genitals. Father Bostwick reportedly also took the boy to St. Mary’s Seminary when school was out of session and fondled the boy’s genitals on overnight stays at the seminary. When Bostwick attempted to have the boy touch his genitals, the boy was frightened and ran, locking himself in another room. The victim said he recalled Father Bostwick becoming emotional, falling to the floor crying and apologizing to him. Bostwick was placed on administrative leave in 1996. In 1997, the Diocese of Harrisburg released a public statement regarding the allegation.

In 2002, the same victim from 1987 reported the same incident to the Diocese of Harrisburg. He said he passed out from drinking alcohol while they watched a movie together. He woke up in another room when Father Bostwick reached for his genitals but stopped him from making contact.

In August 2018, Father Bostwick‘s name appeared publicly on the Diocese of Harrisburg’s list of clergy credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors. He was also included in the August 2018 Pennsylvania Grand Jury report. In September 2018, his name was added to the Archdiocese of Baltimore’s list. In February 2019, Father Bostwick‘s name appeared publicly on the Diocese of Richmond’s list of clergy credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Archdiocese of Baltimore in Maryland. If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in Maryland, contact our office today. Our lawyers have decades of experience representing survivors of clergy sexual abuse nationwide. We can help. Contact us at 888-283-9922 or [email protected] to discuss your options today.