Catholic author, editor named in Pennsylvania grand jury report

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Screenshot of Page 416 of Pennsylvania grand jury report, listing Barry Hudock (NCR)

A former Erie diocesan priest named in the recent Pennsylvania grand jury report has long held prominent positions in the world of Catholic publishing.

Blogger and author Barry Hudock resigned from his position as publisher for the parish market at Liturgical Press in June. He is currently the proprietor of IdeaHouse, a business that consults with writers, publishers and media companies, based out of Albany, Minnesota, where he lives with his wife and children.

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At Liturgical Press, which is affiliated with St. John's Abbey in Collegeville, Minnesota, Hudock edited many books by prominent Catholic authors, including Elizabeth A. Johnson: Questing for God by NCR national correspondent Heidi Schlumpf, and A Pope Francis Lexicon, co-edited by NCR Vatican correspondent Joshua J. McElwee. He also contributed to a variety of Catholic journals and periodicals over the years.

"Father Barry Hudock was a 27-year-old priest in 1996 when he engaged in inappropriate sexual conduct with a girl in her junior year of high school," Hudock's profile in the grand jury report begins. The victim brought her allegations against Hudock to the diocese in 2008.

"Subpoenaed Diocesan records revealed that Hudock groped and kissed the victim on numerous occasions," and in multiple locations, including across state lines, the report says. "It was also reported that Hudock showed the victim pornographic videos, undressed her in his rectory and sexually assaulted her."

NCR contacted Hudock for this story. On the advice of counsel, he declined to give an on the record interview.

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Book cover of "Faith Meets World: The Gift and Challenge of Catholic Social Teaching" by Barry Hudock (CNS)

In a letter sent to book authors with whom he had worked in the weeks before the release of the grand jury report, Hudock stated, "There's some context that will be missing from the report, and the reality is not quite what it will likely seem like in the language the report employs, but there's not much I can do about that."

At the time the woman who made allegations against Hudock came forward, she said she was seeing a counselor for psychological problems stemming from the alleged abuse, according to the grand jury report, and the diocese agreed to pay her medical bills.

The report does not claim the diocese knew of any allegations against Hudock before 2008. Former Bishop Donald Trautman's response to the report, issued through his lawyer, says, "While the conduct occurred in 1996, the allegation (the first and only ever made against Hudock) was not made until 2008." Trautman was bishop of Erie from 1990 to 2012.

Hudock was assigned to St. Peter Cathedral in Erie at the time the alleged abuse occurred. A year later, in 1997, the grand jury report says, he was assigned to the Catholic University of America. He was assigned to St. Anne's in Wilcox, Pennsylvania, from 1999-2001 according to the Official Catholic Directory; he is not listed in subsequent editions.

An attorney for the Erie Diocese told NCR that Hudock was laicized in 2005 at his own request. By 2003, he had begun his career as a Catholic author, publishing books at Pauline Press under the name Barry Michaels. He also was married, and later worked for nonprofits in West Virginia.

After learning of the allegations, "Trautman notified Hudock's then-employer, Christian Brother Academy, a Catholic Preparatory high school in Syracuse, New York," the report says. "Hudock was working there as a teacher. Trautman also notified the Bishop of Syracuse and Hudock himself," as well the Erie County District Attorney's Office. The school fired Hudock shortly after.

In an email to NCR, Liturgical Press director Peter Dwyer said that the publishing company "learned of the allegations against Mr. Hudock when the Diocese of Erie was preparing to make public the names of those with credible accusations."

The diocese added Hudock's name to the list of accused in May, according to BishopAccountability.org.  Hudock's author page at Liturgical Press does not list any works, and Dwyer said that the rights for his books had reverted back to him.

Daughter of St. Paul Sr. Rose Pacatte, a frequent contributor to NCR, told NCR that the books Hudock published with Pauline Press are out of print and the company destroyed remaining copies after learning of the allegations around the time of the grand jury report's release.

Pacatte wrote two books for Hudock as part of Liturgical Press' People of God series, biographies of the pop artist Immaculate Heart of Mary Sister Corita Kent and of the American Catholic actor and anti-war activist Martin Sheen.

Our Sunday Visitor, for whom Hudock was a regular contributor, told NCR that "Barry Hudock was a freelance writer for various Our Sunday Visitor periodicals for at least the past seven years. We were not aware of any allegations against him until May of this year, shortly before his name was released by the Diocese of Erie. Upon learning of the allegations, we immediately ceased his affiliation with OSV. We first learned the details of the allegations when the grand jury report was released last week. OSV's Editorial Board mentioned his name and his previous affiliation with OSV in its Aug. 26 editorial titled Naming Names, which can be found here."

Liguori Press, which published Hudock's book Faith Meets World in 2013, did not respond to an NCR email seeking comment. Faith Meets World was taken down from Liguori Press' website in late August.

[James Dearie is an NCR Bertelsen intern. Contact him at jdearie@ncronline.org]


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