A Fifth Open Letter to Bishop James C. Timlin, Diocese of Scranton

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June 14, 2002

Dear Bishop Timlin,

The Dallas Morning News has published a three-month study showing that 111 of the 178 Catholic dioceses in the United States are run by bishops who, like you, have protected priests against whom credible accusations of sexual abuse have been made. In the database that supports this study (http://www.dallasnews.com/cgi-bin/2002/priests.cgi), [scroll down] you are rightly listed as one of these wayward bishops.

What the report on you does not reveal, however, is that you have continued to allow Fr. Carlos Urrutigoity and Fr. Eric Ensey to socialize with young men even after you supposedly relieved them of their duties in Shohola. Their removal from the Society of St. John’s property was obviously for public relations purposes since you have permitted them to make “cameo” appearances. Fr. Urrutigoity was back on the Shohola property as recently as last Sunday. And Fr. Ensey attended a post-graduation party at the home of one of the boys that graduated from St. Gregory’s Academy on May 25, 2002.

Bishop Timlin, have you forgotten that Fr. Urrutigoity and Fr. Ensey are subjects of an ongoing criminal investigation by the District Attorney of Lackawanna County? Have you forgotten the gravity of the charges against these priests? How can you possibly allow Fr. Ensey to attend any party where boys are present, especially a party connected with the very school where he has been accused of sexual abuse? Have you forgotten the federal lawsuit that claims Fr. Ensey coerced a minor to engage in “various homosexual acts” while this minor was a student at St. Gregory’s Academy?

Today’s Scranton Times quoted your response to the statements made in Dallas by victims of sexual abuse: “They touched my heart. It’s one thing to read about it, but another thing to meet the victims and see how their lives have been affected by it.”

I can only marvel at the depth of your hypocrisy, Bishop Timlin. You claim that your heart has been touched by the plight of victims, yet you continue to make both public and private attacks on the character of the victim who filed a federal lawsuit against Fr. Urrutigoity and Fr. Ensey for sexual abuse. How can you sit in Dallas pretending to make policy to protect victims of sexual abuse while these accused priests are free to pursue their predations?

You have betrayed your sacred office, Bishop Timlin. Therefore, in all humility, you should resign.


Dr. Jeffrey M. Bond

The College of St. Justin Martyr
142 Market Road
Greeley, PA 18425



[Note from Sylvia:  The following is the referenced Dallas Morning News’ depiction of Scranton, Pennsylvania’s Bishop James Timlin]

In a federal lawsuit filed this spring, the longtime bishop is accused of ignoring past allegations against two priests working as chaplains at a boys school and of failing to properly investigate a more recent complaint that they molested a student. Bishop Timlin temporarily removed the priests in January after receiving a letter from that student’s father and forwarded the allegations to prosecutors a month later. The priests have denied molesting the victim, who was a junior when the alleged abuse began in 1997. The victim said the Rev. Eric Ensey gave him alcohol and tobacco before coercing him into sexual acts on several occasions. The victim said that he had to resist further advances Father Ensey made three years later, while the young man was studying to become a priest himself. He sought a secure place to sleep, and the Rev. Carlos Urrutigoity offered his room. But after a few nights, the victim said, Father Urrutigoity also began touching him as well. The lawsuit contends that the diocese knew Father Ensey had been accused of molesting a seminarian in Argentina and that Father Urrutigoity had faced similar allegations while he was in Winona, Minn. The diocese also had known of past allegations against one other priest that it recently removed from ministry. Several years ago, the Rev. Thomas Skotek was sent to treatment following a complaint and reassigned to parish work. An evaluation at the time had determined that he wasn’t a predator, the bishop said. This spring, after another accusation from the past surfaced, Father Skotek was removed as pastor of two parishes. The diocese said he admitted to “some improper conduct” decades ago with a teenage girl.

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