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April 21st, 2023

Archdiocese of Philadelphia Sued for Sexual Assault and Cover-Up; Other Victims Encouraged to Come Forward

Archdiocese of Philadelphia Sued for Sexual Assault and Cover-Up; Other Victims Encouraged to Come Forward

Laffey Bucci D’Andrea Reich & Ryan represents victim who suffered traumatic sexual assault at the hands of former Archdiocese of Philadelphia Priest Kevin Barry McGoldrick

PHILADELPHIA (April 18, 2023) – A civil complaint has been filed on behalf of Jane Doe against the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and former priest Kevin Barry McGoldrick for permitting and facilitating sexual abuse by McGoldrick and then covering up complaints of sexual assault for more than 10 years.

The lawsuit was filed in the Court of Common Pleas in Philadelphia County. Attorneys for the victim are Guy D’Andrea and Stewart Ryan of Laffey Bucci D’Andrea Reich & Ryan in Philadelphia, Pa.

The victim, referred to as “Jane Doe,” is a 28-year-old educator in Virginia. She alleges that McGoldrick abused his position of trust and authority as a priest to sexually assault her in Tennessee while she was a student at Aquinas College from 2014 to 2018. The complaint notes that around 2013, the same year McGoldrick was transferred to Nashville, defendant Archdiocese of Philadelphia opened an investigation into McGoldrick for the sexual abuse of another individual unrelated to Doe.

According to one of Doe’s attorneys, Stewart Ryan, “Our client suffered horrific abuse at the hands of McGoldrick. When she attempted to obtain information from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia regarding McGoldrick’s prior accusations of sexual misconduct, she was intentionally misdirected so that the Church could continue its plan to conceal from her and the public what it knew about McGoldrick’s history. The Archdiocese of Philadelphia has repeatedly covered up its knowledge to protect McGoldrick and the Church. The representations made by the Archdiocese regarding McGoldrick’s fitness to serve were blatantly false given the prior knowledge of McGoldrick’s patterns of inappropriate relationships with vulnerable females.”

The complaint alleges that McGoldrick befriended Doe as a spiritual director when she was a Junior at Aquinas College in Nashville, Tenn. During the summer of 2017, McGoldrick began grooming Doe, regularly inviting her and several other females to his residence for dinner and alcoholic beverages. On one such evening, Doe’s female friend left early, leaving Doe uncomfortable and alone with McGoldrick at his residence. McGoldrick proceeded to pressure Doe to consume copious amounts of alcohol, even continuing to serve her until she was heavily intoxicated to the point where she became ill and vomited. McGoldrick then sexually assaulted her including, it is believed, after she lost consciousness due to McGoldrick’s service of alcohol to her.

McGoldrick apologized to Doe the following day, asked her to tell no one, and cited her attractiveness as the reason for his actions. Doe made it clear that she was not comfortable or interested in what happened and did not want to have any further physical contact with him.

Doe continued to see McGoldrick around campus. The complaint further alleges that she finished her senior year in turmoil, with guilt and suicidal feelings. She suffered PTSD, shock, emotional distress, embarrassment, loss of self-esteem, and humiliation. She believes some of the damage done to her could have been avoided had the Archdiocese of Philadelphia been honest with her about McGoldrick’s prior allegations. Instead, she spent years believing she was alone. Of course, all of what she has been through could have been avoided had the Archdiocese of Philadelphia not transferred McGoldrick to Nashville in the first place.

In March 2019, Doe reported the incident to the Diocese of Nashville and Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Doe relentlessly inquired with the Archdiocese of Philadelphia whether McGoldrick sexually assaulted other victims. They continuously deceived Doe despite her diligent efforts to learn about prior notice of McGoldrick’s abusive history. During his tenure, he was reassigned at least seven times and was subject to at least two leaves of absence. While the Archdiocese of Philadelphia was investigating the allegations, McGoldrick continued to serve as a priest and was covered by the media at a music festival, where he consorted with more young women.  

While the Archdiocese of Philadelphia began an investigation in 2013 into allegations of sexual assault by McGoldrick, Doe was only made aware of the prior allegations in September 2022 when she read an article concerning McGoldrick’s sexual abuse of two other females in Philadelphia.

“April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, which brings to light awareness about this epidemic and the need for more support for those who are affected by it,” said Ryan. “Our goals are to ensure that no other young adult or minor females endure sexual assault at the hands of McGoldrick and that the Archdiocese finally comes clean about its deplorable habit of protecting priests and the Church over vulnerable members of the public.”

McGoldrick served the Archdiocese of Philadelphia from 2003 to 2013 including at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish and School before being transferred by the Archdiocese to Nashville where he served at Aquinas College from 2013 to 2017, until the campus closed its programs. He spent the last three years of his service at Overbook School/St. Cecilia Academy, also in Nashville, from 2017-2020.

In all assignments, he was exposed to countless young adult and minor females. In January 2020, after then-Archbishop Charles J. Chaput found the allegations Doe brought forward against McGoldrick credible, the Archdiocese suspended McGoldrick and McGoldrick asked Pope Francis for dispensation from the obligations of Holy Orders.

For more information about Sexual Assault Awareness Month, visit this website.

All survivors of sexual assault and those with information about McGoldrick are encouraged to contact Laffey Bucci D’Andrea Reich & Ryan’s sex crime victims’ hotline at 800-220-7600 to begin the path to healing. Attorneys Stewart Ryan and Guy D’Andrea also can be contacted by email at sryan@laffeybucci.com and GDAndrea@laffeybucci.com.