Area priest facing sex assault charges

A Diocese of Scranton priest who was once assigned to several parishes in Luzerne County, including a Catholic high school, will face 32 charges in Tioga County Court on allegations of sexually assaulting an altar boy.

The Rev. Thomas P. Shoback, 60, of Wilkes-Barre, appeared Wednesday at a preliminary hearing before District Judge James E. Carlson in Mansfield.

After a hearing that included testimony from the victim in the case, Carlson forwarded all 32 charges, which include involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, endangering the welfare of children and indecent assault, to county court.

Shoback, who was charged in June, will next appear for a formal arraignment before a Tioga County judge on Aug. 20. Shoback remains free on $35,000 bail and is represented by attorney Christopher T. Powell, Jr., of Scranton.

State police said the alleged assaults took place from 1991 through 1997 when the boy was 11 to 17 years old while Shoback was assigned at St. Mary’s Parish in Blossburg, Tioga County.

Shoback was suspended by the diocese in November when allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced.

According to the diocese, Shoback was ordained in 1977 and served as pastor of St. Mary and St. Andrew Parish in Blossburg from February 1989 until July 1997.

He was previously assigned at Sacred Heart of Jesus and Mary in Jermyn, Lackawanna County; St. Joseph’s Parish and Sacred Heart Parish in Plains Township; Holy Redeemer Parish in Exeter Township; St. Joseph’s Parish in Hazleton; Nativity BVM in Plymouth Township; Bishop Hoban High School in Wilkes-Barre, and parishes in Monroe and Lycoming counties.

Shoback was a teacher at Bishop Hoban from 1984 to 1989.

According to The Times Leader archives, Shoback’s brother, Edward J. Shoback, a former Diocese of Scranton priest who worked for more than 20 years at Luzerne County parishes and schools, was suspended in 2004 amid similar allegations of sexual abuse.

Edward Shoback reportedly admitted to those allegations and was defrocked by the Vatican in 2009.

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