Former Catholic high school principal suspended following abuse allegations

Sexual acts performed on boys aged 12 and 15

The Philadelphia Inquirer/July 29, 2008

Cardinal Justin Rigali has suspended the former principal of Roman Catholic and St. Pius X High Schools pending an investigation into allegations he sexually abused a minor many years ago.

Until his removal last week, the Rev. Gerard J. Hoffman, 63, had been serving as parochial vicar at Our Lady of Mount Carmel parish in Doylestown since 2002. He is no longer residing at the parish rectory, according to the archdiocese.

In a prepared statement, the archdiocese said the allegation that prompted his suspension was the first it had ever received against Hoffman, who has served in numerous parishes and high schools during his career. It said it had occurred "more than 30 years ago."

Hoffman was principal of St. Pius X High School, in Pottstown, from 1990 to 1993, and principal of Roman Catholic High School, in Center City, from 1994 to 2002.

Donna Farrell, spokeswoman for the archdiocese, declined to give the age or gender of Hoffman's accuser, or to say when the alleged abuse began or how long it lasted.

Hoffman was not identified in the 2005 Philadelphia grand-jury report on clergy sexual abuse in the Philadelphia Archdiocese.

That report said investigators in the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office discovered that between 1967 and 2005 there had been abuse allegations against 169 priests of the archdiocese, although particulars of many of the accusations were unobtainable. The report identified 63 priests by name.

Since his ordination 35 years ago, Hoffman served in the following parishes:

From 1973 to 1976, at St. Teresa of Avila parish in Valley Forge.

From June 1976 to September 1976 at the Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul.

From 1976 to 1988 on the faculty of St. Pius X High School.

From 1988 to 1990 on the faculty of St. John Neumann High School, Philadelphia.

From 1990 to 1993 as principal of St. Pius X High.

From 1993 to 2002 as principal of Roman Catholic High.

From 2002 to this month at Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Doylestown.

During his service at the high schools, he also resided in the following parish rectories:

From 1976 to 1977 at St. Basil the Great, Kimberton.

From 1977 to 1988 at St. Isaac Jogues parish, Wayne.

From 1988 to 1989 at King of Peace, Philadelphia.

From 1989 to 1990 at St. John the Evangelist, Philadelphia.

The archdiocese said it announced Hoffman's suspension at last Sunday's Masses at Our Lady of Mount Carmel, and made special counselors available to parishioners. The archdiocese also invited anyone concerned by the announcement, or anyone wishing to report the sexual abuse of a minor, to contact its victim assistance office at 1-888-800-8780.

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