Pennsylvania: Catholic priest accused of sexual misconduct

St Peter's Cathedral, Scranton PA.

According to a statement on the website of the Catholic Diocese of Scranton, Pennsylvania, diocesan officials on April 11 received an accusation of sexual misconduct involving a minor against the Reverend Russell E. Motsay, a Catholic priest of the diocese. The accusation is reported to have occurred when the accuser, now an adult, was a minor. In response, Diocesan officials immediately cooperated with the Wayne County District Attorney's Office, the county where the abuse is reported to have taken place, and the Pennsylvania State Police, Troop R Dunmore, Honesdale Station, in the Keystone State.

The statement said, "In addition, the Diocese removed the accused cleric from ministry and suspended his faculties to exercise priestly ministries within the Diocese pending an investigation of the accusation. The Diocese of Scranton will continue to cooperate fully with all civil authorities in their investigation of this matter."

The diocese declared that Rev. Motsay was ordained in 1972, and has served as pastor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Carbondale PA since 1996. His prior appointments included serving as pastor at St. Juliana, Rock Lake; pastor at St. James, Pleasant Mount; assistant pastor at Holy Name, Swoyersville; assistant pastor at St. John the Evangelist, Wilkes-Barre; assistant pastor at Our Lady of Grace, Hazleton; assistant pastor at Sacred Heart, Peckville; catechist at Bishop Neumann High School, Williamsport; assistant pastor at St. Aloysius, Wilkes-Barre; and assistant pastor at Most Precious Blood, Hazleton.

The statement urged anyone who has been sexually abused by a member of the clergy or anyone else, "to immediately notify local law enforcement authorities."


"The Diocese of Scranton is committed to protecting children and to providing support to victims of sexual abuse. In expressing his personal sorrow for the pain suffered by survivors of sexual abuse...", read the statement. Furthermore, it said that Bishop Joseph C. Bambera of Scranton, "requests the faithful of the Diocese to join him in praying for the healing of all those affected while working together to safeguard our children."

The diocese provided contact numbers for victims to contact: Trooper John Decker, Pennsylvania State Police, Honesdale at (570) 253-7126; Joan Holmes, Victim's Assistance Coordinator, at (570) 344-5216; or Scranton diocesan officials, including Reverend Thomas M. Muldowney, V.E., Episcopal Vicar for Clergy, or Teresa Osborne, Chancellor, at (570) 207-2216.

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