This weekend in a letter to parishioners of Saint Teresa of Calcutta Parish in Collingswood, N.J., Father John Bohrer announced that – in addition to retiring from his duties as parish administrator for health reasons – he has asked to be removed from ministry due to an accusation of sexual abuse. His retirement and removal from ministry were effective December 31, 2018.
The accusation against Father Bohrer dates back to the mid-1980’s when he was assigned to Saint Pius X Parish in Cherry Hill, N.J. It was reported to the diocese in October 2002 and subsequently reported to law enforcement, even though the criminal statute of limitations had expired.
Shortly thereafter, Father Bohrer was removed from ministry and the allegation was investigated by the diocese, and subsequently reviewed by the Vatican. It was determined that the allegation did not meet the bar for permanent removal from the priesthood.
Father Bohrer eventually returned to ministry in 2009 as a nursing home resident chaplain, and then parochial vicar. In February 2011, he was asked to take on the role of administrator of Saint Teresa of Calcutta parish in Collingswood, N.J., where he served for 8 years without incident.
As the Diocese of Camden prepares to release the names of all credibly accused priests in the diocese, this accusation came to light again during an independent review of personnel files. In keeping with the criteria of United States Conference of Catholic Bishop’s Charter for the Protection of Young People and the diocese’s own zero tolerance policy, Father Bohrer resigned his position and was removed from ministry.
As a diocese, we continue to pray for all victims and survivors of sexual abuse and for their healing.
The Diocese of Camden encourages anyone who has suffered abuse to report it to law enforcement authorities. If an individual is hesitant for any reason, the diocese maintains a toll-free number (1-800-964-6588) to facilitate reporting. This number can be found on the diocesan website and also is available to victims who wish to arrange for professional counseling.
The diocese remains committed to providing safe environments in our parishes, schools and ministries. We provide safe environment training to all of the children in our schools and religious education programs. This training enables them to recognize what constitutes physical and sexual abuse, and empowers them to report that to a caring adult. We also provide training to all adults – priests, religious and laity – who are in regular contact with children to recognize warning signs of abuse, and to provide them with the knowledge of when and how to report to the appropriate authorities. The Diocese also requires all priests, clergy and laity who have regular contact with children to have passed criminal history background checks.