Msgr. John A. Close

Summary of Case: Close was one of twenty-one priests placed on administrative leave by the Philadelphia archdiocese March 7, 2011 pending an investigation for credible allegations involving sexual abuse or inappropriate behavior with minors. As of June 2011, there were two known accusers, both male and both who said Close sexually abused them as young teens, one in 1969, the other from 1992-1994. Close denies the abuse. One said he tried to report the abuse to the archdiocese in 1998, but they did not respond to his call. The archdiocese did investigate in 2004, but deemed the allegations "unsubstantiated". Both accusers said they reported the abuse to police, but were told Close could not be investigated due to the statute of limitations.

: 1969


Start Stop Parish Town/Accusations State Position Notes

June 1969

Philadelphia archbishop was John Joseph Krol (1961-1988)

June 1972 Christ the King


• In 1998 a man reported to the archdiocese and the Philadelphia police that he had been sexually abused by Close when he was in 8th grade at Christ the King school, in 1969. He stated that the abuse occurred in the parish sacristy and at Close's beach home in Margate, NJ. The man said that he told his mother after several months, who then told the parish pastor, Rev. Robert McGee. (Philadelphia Inquirer
June 12, 2011)

PA 2/3

Parish had a school with 671-605 boys and 642-647 girls.

Close's accuser claimed in 2011 that the police told him in 1998 that the statute of limitations had expired, and that the archdiocese did not return his phone call. Later in 1998 the accuser was convicted of murder and received a life sentence. The archdiocese investigated the report in 2004, and declared that it was "unsubstantiated".

February 1971 June 1972 Serra Club of Philadelphia Philadelphia PA Chaplain  
June 1972 September 1972 St. John the Evangelist Philadelphia PA Assistant pastor  
June 1972 July 1984 Cardinal O'Hara High School Springfield PA Faculty  
1972 1976 Blessed John Nepomucene Neumann Bryn Mawr PA 3/3, 2/2 Parish had a school with 205-130 students.
1976 1977 St. Madeline Ridley Park PA


In residence.

Parish had a school with 473 students.
1977 1982 St. Eugene's Primos PA

3/3, 4/4

In residence.

Parish had a school with 248-186 students.
June 1982 June 1987 Assisi House Aston PA Chaplain This was a home for retired Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia.
July 1984 June 1987 St. James Catholic High School for Boys Chester PA Faculty  

June 1987

Anthony Joseph Bevilacqua succeeded Krol (1987-2003)

July 1990 St. Mary of Providence Center Elverson PA Chaplain This was a retirement center for the elderly, as well as a center for spirituality, retreats, and days of recollection.
1987 1990 St. Pius X High School Pottstown PA Principal School had 550 students.
July 1990 May 1994 Archbishop Wood Catholic High School


• In the Spring of 2011, after a friend told him of Close's supspension, a second man reported to the archdiocese and then the police that Close sexually abused him from 1992-1994, beginning when he was a 14 year-old Freshman at Archbishop Wood High School.

PA Principal

School had 1,500-1,200 students.

The police told this accuser that they couldn't investigate Close because the statute of limitations had expired. The man stated that he had never before told anyone about the abuse, and that he has struggled with severe anxiety, depression and alcohol abuse.

1990 1991 St. Jude's Chalfont PA


In residence.

Parish had a school with 293 students.
Nov. 1991 May 1994 Regina Coeli Residence for Priests Warminster PA Director/Administrator This was a home for aged priests of the archdiocese.
May 1994 June 1996 St. Michael the Archangel Levittown PA 1/4 Parish had a school with 750-780 students, and a religious education program with 430-468 students.
1996 1997         Close is not indexed in the 1997 Directory, nor is he listed at his previous or subsequent assignments.
Nov. 1997 June 2011 Legatus, Philadelphia Chapter Philadelphia PA Chaplain Legatus is "designed exclusively for top-ranking Catholic business leaders and their spouses", per it's website, Close was known to be the Philadephia chapter's chaplain still in June 2011. (Philadelphia Inquirer
June 12, 2011)
June 1996 June 2000 Theological Seminary of St. Charles Borromeo, Overbrook Wynnewood PA Vice rector for institutional advancement Close is first referred to as "Monsignor" in the 1999 Directory.


Krol was replaced by Justin Francis Rigali
(2003- )

2006 Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul

Philadelphia PA 1/5, 1/6 The Cathedral had a religious education program with 75-20 students.
2000 2006 Chapel of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal (La Milagrosa) Philadelphia PA   This is a chapel of the Cathedral of SS. Peter and Paul.
2006 2011 St. Katharine of Siena Wayne PA 1/2, 1/3

Parish had a school with 402-414 students, and a religious education program with 457-415 students.

Close was removed from active ministry March 7, 2011 after a grand jury report found that he, among 37 other archdiocesan priests, had been accused or suspected of sexual abuse or misbehavior with children. (New York Times
March 8, 2011) Close denied the abuse.
of the 37 were suspended pending further investigation. (Philadelphia Inquirer
March 9, 2011)


Source: Official Catholic Directory (New York: P.J. Kenedy and Sons, 1970-2010)

Priests in a Parish: We use the following convention to show a priest's place among the clergy of a parish: 1/2 means that he is the first priest listed in the Official Catholic Directory (usually the pastor) and that there is a total of two priests at the parish. The shorthand 3/4 means that the priest is listed third on a four-priest roster. See our sample page from the Directory.

Note: The Official Catholic Directory aims to report the whereabouts of Catholic priests in the United States on January 1 of the Directory's publication year. Our working assumption is that a priest listed in the Directory for a given year was at the same assignment for part of the previous year as well. However, Kenedy and Sons will sometimes accept updates well into the year of publication. Diocesan clergy records are rarely available to correct this information. The Directory is also sometimes misleading or wrong. We have tried to create an accurate assignment record, given the source materials and their limitations. Assignment records are a work in progress and we are always improving the records that we post. Please email us with new information and corrections.

This assignment record collates Close's career history as it is represented in the Official Catholic Directory with allegations as reported in the media. We make no representation regarding the truth of the allegation we report, and we remind our readers that the U.S. legal system presumes that a person accused of or charged with a crime is innocent until proven guilty. Similarly, individuals who may be defendants in civil actions are presumed not to be liable for such claims unless a plaintiff proves otherwise. Admissions of guilt or liability are not typically a part of civil or private settlements. For more information, see our posting policy.

This assignment record was last updated on June 14, 2011