Former Scranton Bishop James Timlin has Died; SNAP responds

(For immediate Release April 10, 2023) 

Many Scranton Pennsylvania priests are accused of molesting kids and many of them worked under and were protected by the now-deceased Bishop James Timlin. We hope Timlin’s passing will bring some comfort to the hundreds of girls and boys who were sexually violated during his tenure.

One of those priests is Thomas Skotek who had molested and ultimately impregnated a minor girl in the parish between 1980 and 1985. Timlin sent Skotek for a psychological evaluation to Saint Luke Institute in Silver Spring, Maryland in October 1986 after learning of the crime. On October 9, 1986, Timlin wrote to Skotek at Saint Luke. "This is a very difficult time in your life, and I realize how upset you are. I share your grief. With the help of God, who never abandons us and who is always near, when we need him, this too will pass away, and all will be able to pick up and go on living. Please be assured that I am most willing to do whatever I can do to help."

In 1987, after Skotek returned to the diocese, Timlin reassigned him to St. Aloysius Parish in Wilkes-Barre. Timlin never notified parishioners in St. Aloysius or civil authorities about Skotek's rape of the girl. On December 13, 1989, the diocese sent a payment of $75,000 to the family of the rape victim. As part of the settlement, the family had to sign a non-disclosure agreement and liability waiver for both the diocese and Skotek.

The 2018 Pennsylvania grand jury investigation also indicated that Timlin sent a request to the judge sentencing Robert Caparelli, another priest convicted of sexual abuse, asking that he be sent to a church treatment center instead of prison.

Bishops like Timlin wreaked havoc on trusting youngster and their families. And time and time again, he and his colleagues ignored, concealed and enabled these horrific crimes.

We hope that his death will inspire present and past diocesan employees to speak out against Scranton's clergy sex crimes and cover-ups. No matter how old, little, or unimportant our information or suspicions may appear, it is crucial that we all disclose it to law enforcement officials if we know of or suspect abuse. 

CONTACT: Mike McDonnell, SNAP Communications ([email protected], 267-261-0578) Zach Hiner, Executive Director ([email protected], 517-974-9009) Shaun Dougherty, SNAP Board President ([email protected], 814-341-8386)

(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 35 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is


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