What happens to Catholic priests who are kicked out of the church for allegations of sexual abuse? One in Philadelphia works for none other than the Transportation Security Administration.
According to CBS 3 in Philadelphia, Thomas Harkins, a former Catholic priest who was removed from the ministry over sex abuse allegations, now holds a TSA security post at Philadelphia International Airport.
In 2002, Harkins was removed from his position as a priest in the Diocese of Camden in southern New Jersey because the church believed he sexually abused two young girls. A third woman is now claiming she also is one of Harkins’ victims in a new lawsuit.
The suit filed in Federal court against the Camden Diocese accuses Harkins of sexually abusing an 11-year-old girl 10 to 15 times between 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, N.J.
TSA officials told the news station that Harkins’ title is “Transportation Security Manager, Baggage,” so he deals mostly with luggage, not passengers. The TSA also said that allegations of sexual misconduct in Harkins’ past did not show up on a background check because the Camden Diocese settled the first two lawsuits.