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Priest named in Pennsylvania grand jury report transferred to Lafayette in the 90s

Posted: 6:02 AM, Aug 17, 2018
Updated: 2018-08-17 07:02:37-04

A former priest whose name was found this week in the extensive Pennsylvania grand jury report  on allegations of sexual abuse by Roman Catholic priests in the state of Pennsylvania was transferred to the Diocese of Lafayette in the 1990s, according to Blue Rolfes, spokeswoman for the Diocese of Lafayette.

Father John Bostwick came to the Diocese of Lafayette in 1992 at the invitation of then-Bishop Harry Flynn after receiving permission from the Diocese of Richmond to minister outside the diocese. At the time, he had been serving in the Diocese of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Flynn and  Bostwick had become friends while both were at Mount Saint Mary’s University and Seminary in Emmitsburg, Maryland, Rolfes says.

The Acadia Advocate reports Bostwick received permission after having refused psychological counseling under the recommendation of Bishop Walter Sullivan of the Diocese of Richmond. Bostwick came to Lafayette three years later, the report states.

A spokesman for the Diocese of Harrisburg tells The Advocate the reason Sullivan recommended counseling isn’t clear. He also says he doesn’t know why Bostwick received permission to minister outside Richmond.

In 1996, fours years after Bostwick was transferred to Lafayette, then-Bishop Edward O’Donnell was made aware of a sex abuse allegation against Bostwick that took place in the early 1980s in the Diocese of Harrisburg. (The Advocate reports Bostwick was accused of sexually abusing two teenage boys, one from 1980 to 1982 and the other in the summer of 1987.) At the time, Bostwick was serving as administrator of the Church of the Assumption in Franklin. Upon learning of the allegation, O’Donnell immediately “removed Bostwick from priestly duties in the Diocese of Lafayette and notified parishioners,” according to Rolfes.

O’Donnell is said to have notified Bostwick that he was to return to the Diocese of Richmond to face the allegation. It’s unclear if Bostwick did so.

Despite an invitation from O’Donnell for any other victims to come forward, no complaints against Bostwick were ever made by anyone in the Diocese of Lafayette, Rolfes says.

The Diocese of Lafayette still has not released the names of 15 priests with credible accusations.

Officials with the Harrisburg diocese tell The Advocate Bostwick is still alive, but his whereabouts are unknown.