The Archdiocese of Philadelphia was notified June 18 by the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales that they had just learned of a lawsuit filed in the state of Delaware that contains an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor against Father Gerald Dunne, an Oblate of St. Francis de Sales, who is in residence at Resurrection of Our Lord Parish in Philadelphia. The accuser in the case alleges that Father Dunne sexually abused him as a student at Salesianium High School in Delaware approximately 30 years ago. Father Dunne has denied the allegation against him.
Parishioners at Resurrection of Our Lord Parish were informed of the allegation this past weekend (June 20-21). Staff members from the archdiocesan Victim Assistance Program were present. “We understand that it may be difficult for some parishioners to hear an announcement such as this,” said the director of the Office for Child and Youth Protection Karen Becker. “The counselors are present if anyone wishes to express a concern or ask for assistance.”
Pending an investigation, the Oblates have placed Father Dunne on administrative leave and Cardinal Justin Rigali has withdrawn Father Dunne’s faculties to exercise priestly ministry in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Father Dunne has left the parish and will be living at an Oblate residence outside of the Archdiocese.
Father Dunne has also served on the faculty of Northeast Catholic High School (1987-1994) and Father Judge High School (1994 to present).
In accord with archdiocesan policy, Father Dunne had completed the screening procedures of the Archdiocese, including the appropriate police and child abuse background checks. He had received a positive recommendation and clearance from the Oblates and had completed their accredited screening process. The Archdiocese has never before received any allegation against him.
The Archdiocese of Philadelphia recognizes that this public notice may be painful to those who have been abused. Anyone needing assistance may contact the Victim Assistance Program for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia at 1-888-800-8780.