Two years after her sexual assault in 2017, a student at Aquinas College in Nashville, TN, summons the courage to come forward. Susanna’s* alleged perpetrator is Father Kevin McGoldrick, a former Archdiocese of Philadelphia priest with a questionable history. Her alleged assault coincides with ongoing apologies for “sins of the past” and claims of institutional reform within the Catholic Church.
The trajectory of this avoidable tragedy involves two dioceses, multiple clergy assignments, and 18 years of ministry. It serves as a case study on the endemic and pervasive present-day issues within institutional Catholicism that remain unapologetically unaddressed despite the devastating impact on victims, communities, and Catholic laity.
Parade of Red Flags
Despite promises of transparency and accountability to the laity, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia refuses to release or confirm Kevin Barry McGoldrick’s complete assignment record following his ordination there on May 17, 2003. The following assignment record was compiled with information from Philadelphia clergy, laity, and survivors.
His first assignment was as Parochial Vicar at Nativity BVM in Port Richmond, Philadelphia. In 2005, he was assigned to the same position at St Timothy in Northeast Philadelphia. In the spring of 2007, he was appointed to Roman Catholic High School as school minister and resided at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul.
Father McGoldrick takes a leave of absence from the fall of 2007 until May 2008, when he is appointed Parochial Vicar at Our Lady of Mount Carmel in South Philadelphia.
He left the Archdiocese during the winter of 2010 and became Father Maximilian Mary, a novice of the Community of Franciscan Friars in Newark, New Jersey. His new identity is short-lived. By summer, he is an archdiocesan priest and Parochial Vicar at St. Monica Parish in South Philadelphia.
In June 2011, he was assigned as Parochial Administrator, pro tem (essentially a pastor) at Holy Name of Jesus in the Fishtown section of Philadelphia. Surprising, given his erratic history and inexperience. Not surprisingly, he left one year later.
McGoldrick’s whereabouts from June 2012 until July 2013 are unknown.
In July 2013, Catholic Philly, the official Archdiocesan news publication, reported that Father McGoldrick would become chaplain at Aquinas College in Nashville, Tennessee.
According to sources, in late summer or early fall of 2013, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia received a complaint about McGoldrick’s alleged inappropriate behavior towards young adult women during his ministry in Philadelphia. To this day, the Archdiocese has not confirmed this complaint or an investigation.
It’s not typical for a large Archdiocese suffering from a priest shortage to lend out one of its own to a small college in another state. And Archbishop Chaput had called McGoldrick “unassignable,” according to a source. Is it ethical or moral to pass off a struggling priest to another diocese along with a letter of good standing? Kathy Kane of Catholics4Change contacted Archbishop Chaput to allow him to explain his comment. No reply was received..
Rocking & Rolling
Telling friends the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia had invited him, the 39-year-old priest got a fresh start 800 miles away in August 2013. The lifelong musician immerses himself in the local music scene. Long describing himself as a square peg in a round hole, he begins crowdsourcing funds to make an album with that title.
Ministry somehow left much time for McGoldrick’s rocking and rolling. The Tennessean newspaper featured him in June 2014. “Even though he only arrived from a parish in Philadelphia, Pa, last year, he’s recording on Music Row with some established session musicians.” After his album release, the priest returned to Philadelphia as the opener for another musician at the World Meeting of Families in September 2015. He lands at least one other local gig as a featured performer at the Malvern Retreat House Family Festival.
McGoldrick doesn’t shy away from publicity. He is a guest on several podcasts, tours California, and hosts a vlog called “Whiskey Couch,” where he serves a bourbon and theology cocktail. During a 2019 podcast interview promoting a festival he’s headlining, McGoldrick sings a few lines of a John Mayer song and sounds giddy, despite having just hit a sour note off-stage with Susanna’s allegations.
Silence or Subterfuge?
An article in the Catholic Herald article notes the Nashville Diocese broke Church policy when they didn’t immediately forward the case to McGoldrick’s home diocese. It was Susanna who eventually made contact with the diocese.
This takes place one year after Cardinal McCarrick’s abuse of seminarians made national news headlines. Despite the glaring spotlight, the Philadelphia Archdiocese operates in the dark. While under investigation, McGoldrick is the headliner at a family music festival in the Duluth Diocese.
Were warning signs missed or ignored? The latter seems more plausible. Within only ten years of McGoldrick’s ordination, he held five parish assignments, one short-lived high school chaplaincy, a leave of absence, a brief stint in a religious order, and a missing year before his chaplaincy 800 miles away.
Kathy Kane asked the Nashville Diocese and the Dominican Sisters if the Philadelphia Archdiocese informed them of the alleged 2013 investigation. Sister Cecilia Ann, President of Aquinas College, answered promptly.
“Thank you for your email. We take the safety of our students very seriously, and we continue to follow diligently our safe environment policies and practices.”
Kathy’s follow-up email goes unanswered. The reply from the Nashville Diocese arrives later and is a bit longer.
“Thank you for your email. Kevin McGoldrick was granted faculties or permission to perform religious sacramental duties in the Diocese of Nashville after he was selected by the Dominican Sisters of St Cecilia to serve on their campus. Following Church protocols, the permission to perform those religious sacramental duties was granted after he passed a criminal background check and presented a letter of good standing from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia which was responsible for the Church’s canonical oversight of his ministry,” wrote Rick Musacchio, Director of Communications for the Nashville Diocese.
Smoke, Mirrors & Disappearing Acts
In September 2019, McGoldrick’s name was quietly removed from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s clergy list. McGoldrick might have disappeared without notice if not for Susanna and the Catholic Herald’s investigative reporting. Unlike most dioceses, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia conducts many of its investigations secretly. While under investigation, priests often remain in their assignments.
Announcing investigations and administrative leaves protects and informs the public. It helps those with relevant information come forward. It is a common practice in many U.S. dioceses. The Archdiocese of Philadelphia remains an outlier in lack of announcements to laity and survivors who could assist in their investigations.
In 2020, Yvonne* read about McGoldrick’s alleged sexual assault of Susanna in the Catholic Herald and submitted a 62-page formal complaint to the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, hoping to receive justice and to provide support for Susanna. Yvonne alleges to be a victim of spiritual abuse and sexual misconduct at the hands of McGoldrick when she was a young woman. She alleges he began grooming her in 2006 when he was her spiritual director. In addition to a lengthy interview, Yvonne says she provided investigators with 18 contacts (including clergy). She claims Delaney said her information corroborated details in the complaint they received in 2013. The same complaint the Archdiocese will not publicly confirm.
The investigation ended abruptly several months later on April 6, 2021 – the same day McGoldrick’s voluntary laicization became official. With that, the Church wipes its hands of responsibility.
In 2020, John Delaney, the Delegate of Investigations, informed Susanna that an allegation in her report was found credible. In September 2021, Ken Gavin, director of Archdiocesan Communications, offered Catholics4Change its only diocesan response written in 2020.
“Father Kevin McGoldrick is a priest of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Currently, his faculties are removed, and he is prohibited from the public exercise of his priestly ministry. Before those administrative actions, he had been on loan for service in the Diocese of Nashville. There, he served as a Chaplain at two private Catholic educational institutions from 2013-2017. (*Gavin’s dates are incorrect. McGoldrick served as a chaplain for the Dominican sisters and the schools from 2013-2019).
In July 2019, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia received a direct report that Father McGoldrick had engaged in misconduct with another adult in 2017 while serving in Nashville. The nature of that report alleged a violation of the Standards of Ministerial Behavior and Boundaries. Upon its receipt, the required canonical investigation was launched and facilitated by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s Office of Investigations. The work of that office is led by a former 1st Assistant District Attorney for the City and County of Philadelphia who served in the District Attorney’s office for over 36 years before coming to the Archdiocese. During the course of the investigative process, Father McGoldrick’s priestly faculties were restricted.
At its conclusion, the findings were presented to Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., then serving as the Archbishop of Philadelphia. Based on the facts, Archbishop Chaput found the allegation to be credible. As a result, Father McGoldrick’s faculties were removed, and he was restricted from the public exercise of his priestly ministry. Later, Father McGoldrick voluntarily requested to be removed from the clerical state. His petition for laicization is in process with the Vatican.”
Kathy Kane has contacted John Delaney of the Archdiocesan Office of Investigations, Suzanne Houston, General Counsel for the Archdiocese, the chancery office, and the clergy office numerous times since 2020 to request answers to the following questions.
- Why isn’t McGoldrick’s archdiocesan assignment record in Philadelphia publicly available?
- Why won’t the archdiocese confirm or deny that a 2013 investigation of McGoldrick was initiated?
- Why was there no public notice of the 2019 investigation of Susanna’s complaint?
- Why didn’t they announce that they finally placed McGoldrick on administrative leave in 2019?
- Did they alert the Nashville Diocese or the Dominican Sisters of concerns?
No Happy Ever Afters For Survivors & Laity
McGoldrick is now married to a former employee of the Nashville diocese and works as a chaplain in a healthcare setting.
Voluntary laicization works out best for the dioceses and the former priest. It ends, but as Yvonne states, ‘the lives of the victims remain irrevocably damaged.”
*Names were changed.
One thought on “McGoldrick Provides Case Study On Sins of the Present”
HERE IS A FAIRY TAIL BY BILL DONOHUE THE RCC’S APOLOGIST: This is all about money, not justice. How can anyone fairly adjudicate claims made about an alleged offense when the offender is dead and buried? He can, of course, because the claimant is not going after an individual—he is going after an institution.
If this were about getting guilty individuals, then trial lawyers would sue live-in boyfriends; they are the most likely to abuse a minor. But there is nothing but chump change there, so why not stick it to the Catholic Church? THE RCC HAS THE MOST PROLIFIC LIARS IN ITS TWO THOUSAND YEARS OF EXISTENCE. THE RCC HAS NO ‘ MORAL WORTH ‘ THEY ARE NOT INTERESTED IN YOUR SOUL ONLY YOUR DONATIONS. WHEN IT IS THE INSTITUTION THAT
PROTECTS THEM THEN YOU GO AFTER THE INSTITUTION!