Deceased San Antonio Priest Listed in Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report

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Bonnie Arbittier / Rivard Report

A statue outside the Archdiocese of San Antonio.

Among the thousands of sexual abuse allegations in a 900-page Pennsylvania grand jury report, one name from San Antonio appeared.

The Archdiocese of San Antonio issued an advisory Thursday about former teacher and pastor David Connell, who served in San Antonio from 1976 until his death in 1995.

The Pennsylvania grand jury report released Tuesday included Connell’s name and an allegation that he drugged and raped a male high school student while working in Pottsville, Pennsylvania. He was also accused of making a sexual advance on a different male student before then.

The report was the result of an investigation of Pennsylvania Catholic clergy sexual abuse, which found more than 1,000 children were abused by hundreds of priests for decades, though the report acknowledges there are probably many more.

The archdiocese said Connell provided documentation of the sexual advance allegation when moving to San Antonio — which stated that he “made a pass” at a male student — but denied doing anything.

Connell did not have any allegations of sexual abuse during his service in San Antonio, the archdiocese said in the statement. It added that the allegations are being taken seriously, and encouraged people to come forward with information or concerns about Connell.

In the advisory, the archdiocese said it remains “strongly committed to restoring trust and healing the wounds of anyone who may have been hurt by sexual abuse,” and will work to make all Catholic parishes, schools and institutions safe.

“We reiterate the comment made by the president of the USCCB following the release of the Pennsylvania grand jury report released August 14, 2018: ‘We pray that all survivors of sexual abuse find healing, comfort, and strength in God’s loving presence as the church pledges to continue to restore trust through accompaniment, communion, accountability, and justice,’” the archdiocese said in its advisory.

When contacted, the archdiocese declined to comment further.

“At this time we are letting the archdiocesan statement stand for itself,” director of communications Jordan McMorrough said in an email.

On Thursday, the Vatican also condemned the abuse of Pennsylvania clergy following the Tuesday release of a grand jury report.

“The abuses described in the report are criminal and morally reprehensible,” said the statement. “Those acts were betrayals of trust that robbed survivors of their dignity and their faith. The Church must learn hard lessons from its past, and there should be accountability for both abusers and those who permitted abuse to occur.”

5 thoughts on “Deceased San Antonio Priest Listed in Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report

  1. San Antonio, along with various other Texas cities, was listed on the epilogue text in the movie Spotlight. It would then appear that the grand jury report seems to confirm what the movie also informed us about. The child abuse will only continue until we stop giving these organizations this kind of power.

  2. Faithful Catholic here, I support all church teaching, don’t miss Mass, raising kids in the faith, etc. etc., and I say this: Ken Paxton needs to replicate the PA AG’s efforts in every diocese in this state.

  3. The Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report details the abuse of Carmelite priest David Connell on page 326.

    It includes an account in which the Carmelites took in a family whose house had burned down. David Connell drugged and sexually abused the teenaged son while in his care.

    The victim reports waking up naked, bleeding and drugged in his bed unable to stop the abuse by Connell even though the victim was an athlete.

    On another occasion Connell drugged his victim by spiking his drink.

    On another occasion Connell invited a boy to sleep with him in his tent on a campout and made a sexual advance.

    The abuse of David Connell was reported to the Diocese of Allentown. The Diocese made a confidential report of the allegations at which time his religious order transfered him to the Diocese of San Antonio where he immediately became a teacher at Antonian High School and eventually became the Principal and Pastor of St. Thomas More.

    This is disgusting. Quite frankly, the terse statement of the Archdiocese begs investigation by the authorities and an investigative reporter.

    Does anyone know such a reporter?

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