‘An Open Invitation For Fraud’: Falsely Accused Priest Calls Out Shakedown Racket Against Catholic Church, Lack of Due Process

Msgr. Joseph P. Kelly : falsely accused priest

Fighting back against fraud: Msgr. Joseph P. Kelly of the Diocese of Scranton

Kudos to Msgr. Joseph P. Kelly of the Diocese of Scranton (Pennsylvania) for fighting back!

After the Diocese of Scranton created a "Survivors Fund" to dole out free cash to anyone who says they were abused by a priest, no matter how long ago, a group of imprisoned felons came forward to claim that Kelly abused them some 45 years ago. Back then, a court had appointed the accusers as troubled teens to attend a school for boys that Kelly once directed.

The diocese somehow determined that the accusations were "credible" (whatever that means). But Kelly has not only vehemently declared his innocence, he has also issued a scathing statement denouncing the entire process leading to his removal from ministry.

A recent issue (pdf) of The Catholic Light, the official newspaper of the Diocese of Scanton, featured Kelly's broadside against a system in which easy loot is handed out to convicted criminals while an accused priest is not even afforded the opportunity to defend himself.

Pulling no punches

Msgr. Kelly did not hold back in attacking how his whole accusation was handled. While strongly asserting his innocence and declaring the accusations against him as "false and fraudulent," Kelly wrote in part:

"[Bishop Joseph Bambera's] decision to name me as 'credibly accused' is based on a seriously flawed process that is an open invitation for fraud. Once the Diocese established and announced that it created a 'Survivors Fund,' former St. Michael's boys made claims of having been abused while there … I was not given the opportunity to defend myself, and no adequate investigation of these claims was made.

"My accusers, who claim that I abused them 45 years ago, have criminal records ranging from murder to robbery to assault to drug offenses. These claims arise as part of a prison industry, where claims against Diocese nationwide have arisen.

"None of the claimants against me came forward until the Survivor's Fund was created and announced."

Indeed, Kelly is entirely correct that there is a well-established "prison industry" in which lowly felons falsely accuse a Catholic priest of abuse in hopes of a cash grab. As we have reported a number of times, an East-Coast lawyer even wrote back in 2001 that accusing a priest of abuse was a "current and popular scam" among prisoners.

Years, later, Scranton's "Survivors Fund" is absolutely an "open invitation for fraud."

[Click to read Msgr. Joseph P. Kelly's statement (pdf)]

In addition, when the Diocese of Scanton recently announced that Msgr. Kelly was one of eight additional names to add to the diocese's list of so-called "credibly accused" priests, Kelly was the only priest who was still alive and still around to defend himself. (Kelly is 80 years old.)

As regular followers of this site know full well, false accusations against priests are rampant and off the charts, and the entire process by which accusations against priests are screened, veted, and investigated is incredibly broken. The entire process is so fractured that at least one accused priest has actually resorted to suing his own bishop to try and clear his name.

As we enter the year 2021, let us hope that this injustice against innocent priests ends.


Check it out! Read about the rampancy of false accusations against priests in the new book by David F. Pierre, Jr. of TheMediaReport.com, The Greatest Fraud Never Told: False Accusations, Phony Grand Jury Reports, and the Assault on the Catholic Church … available at Amazon.com.


  1. Rory Connor says:

    I gave UK cultural historian the late Richard Webster the material on which he based his 24 December 2005 essay "The Christmas Spirit in Ireland". This includes the quote with which he concludes the essay: As the former bank robber James Gantley put it a year ago, [2004] the Redress Board is 'The Good Ship Lollipop, lots of dosh for everyone'.

    Regarding the Irish Government's evidence-free Redress Scheme for "Survivors", Richard Webster wrote:

    "Unless Ireland proves to be a country whose citizens are entirely immune to the laws of human nature, it is almost certainly the case that a significant number of those now claiming money from the government are quite genuine victims of abuse who suffered in the manner they have claimed.

    "But it is also likely to be the case that a very large number of the claims received, perhaps as many as 90%, would prove, if it were possible to investigate them fully, entirely false.

    "If that is indeed the case then the Irish government has committed a protracted act of folly on a scale unprecedented in the entire history of sexual abuse compensation schemes."

    But  the Irish Government  just continues doing it, right up to the present day!

  2. Rory Connor says:

    Oops! The link for "The Christmas Spirit in Ireland" is


  3. Malcolm Harris says:

    Sometimes it helps to look at things in the light of basic justice. Here the basic consideration should be western justice, because it's there to protect us. And that includes Monsignor Kelly. Remember he is being accused of criminal acts. Yes, I know it is about a civil case but it relates to alleged criminal behavior. Therefore he is entitled to the presumption of innocence. Did he get that?. Nope… he got a presumption  of guilt. Also the onus of proof should be on the accuser….And was it?  Nope….unless the word of convicted criminals is considered to be sufficient proof these days?. Catholics could be forgiven for suspecting their priests are being railroaded. Well they are…. and our enemies have deranged the basic tenets of western justice… to pursue their dubious agendas.

  4. Bravo to Msgr. Kelly for having the courage to stand up to obvious fraud, and bravo once again to Dave Pierre for exposing a story that most in both secular and Catholic media will not touch:  The story of "victims" who are victimized only by their own greed.  I have been approached by numerous prisoners who have attempted this same scam, and some of them have been successful.  I wrote about how this story unfolds in prison here:  https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/weapon-mass-destruction-catholic-priests-falsely-accused-macrae/


  5. This is and has been a scam and coverup for many years as I came forward to a Protestant denomination one of the largest Protestant denominations in the United States the Missouri Synod Lutheran Church in St.Louis Missouri in 1991 not asking for any money but to protect other children from going on a retreat to the Bahamas with the serial admitted child molester who sexually abused me after years of grooming when I was 10 years old. The church coverup was written up in World Magazine and now this scam and coverup instigated by attorneys and those greedy and wanting power and control.is despicable and should be investigated by the IRS, FBI, and law enforcement around this country and the world. David Samarzia 248-376-9939 The marketing campaign by these attorneys is so disgusting and shows no concern for REAL victims of this atrocity. 

    My attorney was Jeff  Anderson St.Paul, Minnesota a contingency fee of 50% and expenses because we were told by him this was new territory and the attorney had already in December 1991 said he has made millions suing the shit out of the Catholic Church in the media, I was abused by a Protestant denomination seems like follow the money was why my case went on for 8 years plus. 

    I asked for no money but never excepted to end up losing everything I worked hard to have. 8 years plus. Everything I have is documented and mostly with legal documents.