Former Philadelphia Catholic School Teacher Arrested for Child Sexual Abuse; SNAP Calls for Action from Church Officials
Another case of child sexual abuse has hit the Archdiocese of Philadelphia Catholic community. We call on Church officials from the Archdiocese and the school administrators at Mercy Career and Technical High School to be completely transparent with the public in this most recent case of accusations of sexual assault against a child.
Barbara Corbo was hired to teach English and Social Studies at the school in August 2021. Mercy is under the administration of the Sisters of Mercy and an institution of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Corbo is accused of sexual assault, contact with a minor, and other offenses. The accusations stem from December of 2021. School administrators and the Archdiocese of Philadelphia apparently were made aware of the allegations on January 18, 2022, and Corbo was terminated immediately. Our concern is that it appears that Mercy and Church officials would have continued in secrecy about these accusations if it was not for the charges making news headlines this week.
We are also disturbed by the statement issued by Mercy that noted that the abuse took place "outside of school." We are not sure why this would be significant, as long as the victim is a student at the school. It is very difficult to believe that the interactions between Corbo and the victim did not begin in the school setting. Sexual predators often begin and advance their predilections through the grooming process, and that usually starts within the institution that gave them power over the child.
By our count, these charges continue the statistic of an average of two arrests per month of Catholic clergy or staffers in the United States on crimes related to sexual abuse. This is yet another reminder that the abuse scandal is ongoing and that Church officials must do everything in their power to help prevent future assaults.
Church and school officials should personally visit Mercy and contact the families of every child who was at the school while Corbo was employed, ensuring they are aware of the allegations and are encouraged to come forward to local law enforcement.
Corbo has multiple places of employment listed since 2014 in her profile, many of these positions placed her in direct contact with children as a student teacher, library assistant, substitute teacher, and poetry instructor. It is incumbent upon the leadership of the Archdiocesan School System to make contact with Corbo’s former employers and make sure that they are aware of the accusations and the charges.
We encourage anyone who may have seen, suffered, or suspected abuse at the hands of Corbo or any other staffer in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia to come forward and report to law enforcement.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)