Saturday, May 26, 2012
Kudos to CBS News I-Team in Philadelphia for uncovering this pip.
A defrocked Catholic priest who was removed from the ministry over sex abuse allegations now holds a sensitive security post at Philadelphia Int’l Airport.
The security checkpoint between Terminals D and E is a busy place where thousands of people – including lots of kids, pass through every day. But you might not believe who is now a TSA supervisor at that checkpoint this week: Thomas Harkins.
In 2002, Harkins was a Catholic priest working at churches across South Jersey. But the Diocese of Camden removed him from ministry because it discovered he sexually abused two young girls. Now, in a new lawsuit, a third woman is claiming she also is one of Harkins’ victims.
CBS News’ I-Team asked Harkins about the suit as he was leaving his shift at the airport.
“I have nothing to say,” was Harkins’ reply.
A new lawsuit, filed in federal court against the Camden Diocese says quite a bit. It accuses Harkins of sexually abusing an 11-year-old girl 10 to 15 times in 1980 and 1981. The lawsuit, filed on behalf of the alleged victim, claims the abuse occurred while Harkins was a priest at Saint Anthony of Padua parish in Hammonton, NJ, with one assault even occurring in Harkins’ bedroom at the rectory.
It’s criminal that the TSA is so lax when it comes to performing background checks on the men and women they hire to work at America’s airports.