Pope Benedict XVI, at the request of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, has dismissed Jerome “Jeff” Toohey from the clerical state.
Jeff Toohey was removed from ministry and had his faculties to function as a priest removed in 1993, when the Archdiocese received a credible allegation that he had molested a young man in the mid-late 1980s. Jeff Toohey denied the allegation at that time, but has been restricted from any form of ministry by the Archdiocese since 1993.
In November 2005, Jeff Toohey pleaded guilty in Baltimore County Circuit Court to sexually abusing a minor in the late 1980s to early 1990s.
Jeff Toohey served at St. Francis of Assisi from 1977 to 1984 and as Chaplain at Calvert Hall from 1982 to 1993 and Chaplain to the Deaf Community from 1984 to 1993. During the 1980s to early 1990s, Jeff Toohey also served on the Board of Directors for the John Carroll School and assisted at St. John, Hydes.
A priest who has been dismissed from the clerical state, or “defrocked,” is permanently removed from ministry and from ever again functioning as a priest, in public or private. This action by the Holy Father is not subject to appeal nor does it require the consent of the individual to be in effect.
“The Archdiocese is committed to protecting children and helping to heal victims of abuse,” Archbishop Edwin F. O’Brien, Archbishop of Baltimore, said. “We are deeply sorry for the pain suffered by survivors of abuse due to the actions of clergy, and I echo the words of our Holy Father who said in his homily at Nationals Park, ‘Great efforts have already been made to deal honestly and fairly with this tragic situation, and to ensure that children—whom our Lord loves deeply and who are our greatest treasure—can grow up in a safe environment. These efforts to protect children must continue.’”
Anyone who has any knowledge of child sexual abuse is urged to come forward, and to report it immediately to civil authorities. If clergy or other church personnel are suspected of committing the abuse, we ask that you also call the Archdiocesan Office of Child and Youth Protection Hotline at 1-866-417-7469.