Man was removed from ministry after three cases of reported sexual abuse against young girls
May 25, 2012
May 25, 2012
A former Catholic priest who was defrocked after it was discovered he had sexually abused young girls is now working as a security screener for the TSA it has been revealed.
The CBS 3 I-Team in Philadelphia reports that Thomas Harkins, a priest in South Jersey until 2002, is now working at a security terminal at Philadelphia International Airport.
Although his main duty is to screen baggage, part of Harkins’ job with the TSA also involves screening passengers passing through body scanners and conducting pat-downs where necessary.
“The Diocese of Camden removed him from ministry because it found he sexually abused two young girls. Now, in a new lawsuit, a third woman is claiming she also is one of Harkins’ victims.” the CBS affiliate reports.
Details of the new lawsuit filed in a federal court against Harkins were revealed by the CBS team and they do not make for pretty reading. It says that he sexually abused an 11-year-old girl up to 15 times in the early 1980s when he was a priest at Saint Anthony of Padua parish in Hammonton, NJ.
The CBS team tracked Harkins down and confronted him over the allegations. He refused to answer questions and sought refuge in a restricted TSA security area.
“They should know who they’re hiring,” Karen Polesir, a Philadelphia spokeswoman with the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) told CBS.
“As the public, we are screened to our underwear getting on a plane, and yet they hire a man like that.” she added.
Watch the CBS report:
The TSA claims that it puts all its employees through background checks, and that Harkins was not flagged because criminal charges were never brought against him.
However, as we have repeatedly noted, this is not an isolated case. In fact, the TSA has consistently hired violent criminals and even pedophiles, indicating that the agency does not follow through on background checks.
Last month, a television station in Atlanta reported that the TSA is so swamped with background checks it is now hiring just about anybody to grope and irradiate the public.
“In a move that could affect security at airports around the nation, the Transportation Security Administration confirmed Wednesday it had such a backlog of background security checks, airport employers were allowed to hire any employee needed,” WSBTV reported. “TSA officials said the background checks are delayed, but they are processing them as fast as they can.”