Category: Sex

Fr. Gerald Royer (Diocese of Allentown)

Father Gerald Royer

Diocese of Allentown (Pennsylvania)

Fr. Gerald Royer Horowitz Law

Ordained: 1947

Leaves of Absence: 1955-1956, 1960-1961

Resigned: 1964

Laicized: 1965

Died: 2003

Assigned as follows:

Assistant Pastor, St. Bartholomew, Brockton 06/1947 – 01/1948
Assistant Pastor, Ss. Simon & Jude, Bethlehem 01/1948 – 06/1948
Assistant Pastor, St. Bartholomew, Brockton 06/1948 – 12/1948
Assistant Pastor, St. Catherine of Siena, Reading 12/1948 – 06/1950
Assistant Pastor, St. Joseph, Girardsville 06/1950 – 05/1952
Assistant Pastor, St. Joseph, Downingtown 05/1952 – 01/1953
Assistant Pastor, Annunciation, Shenandoah 01/1953 – 06/1953
Chaplain, Convent of Divine Love 06/1953 – 03/1954
Assistant Pastor, St. Mary of the Assumption, Phila 03/1954 – 11/1955
Leave of Absence 11/1955 – 02/1956
Residence: Villa Saint Joseph 11/1955 – 02/1956
Assistant Pastor, St. Jane Frances de Chantal, Easton 02/1956 – 05/1956
Assistant Pastor, St. Paul, Reading 05/1956 – 04/1960
Leave of Absence 04/1960 – 07/1961
Residence: Holy Redeemer Hospital 04/1960 – 07/1961
Chaplain, St. Joseph’s Manor 07/1961 – 08/1964
Left Active Ministry 08/1964 – 02/1965
Residence: Private Residence 08/1964 – 02/1965

Summary of Abuse Allegations Against Father Gerald Royer:

Royer was ordained for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and incardinated into the Diocese of Allentown when it was formed in 1961.

According to the documents reviewed by the grand jury, in 2003 a man reported to the Diocese of Allentown that Royer sexually abused him at Ss. Simon and Jude church, where Royer was assigned in 1948 (before the formation of the Diocese of Allentown).  He later testified in the grand jury investigation that he was a fatherless 12 year old boy who was repeatedly abused because Royer was allowed to spend an unlimited amount of time with him.  In 2003, when he first spoke with the Diocese about his abuse, the man says that the Chancery confirmed that Royer had been sent to counseling for other allegations of misconduct as well.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of Allentown.  If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in Pennsylvania, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those abused by Catholic clergy in the Diocese of Allentown may have legal options against the Diocese of Allentown.

Contact us at (954) 641-2100 or adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com today.

Fr. Joseph A. Rock (Diocese of Allentown)

Father Joseph A. Rock

Diocese of Allentown (Pennsylvania)

Ordained: 1972

Inpatient treatment: 1986

Named in civil lawsuit: 1994, 2004

Retired: 1999

Laicized (removed from priesthood): 2005

Assigned as follows:

  • 1972        Sacred Heart of Jesus (Allentown, PA)
  • 1972-1986    Catholic Scouting/Catholic Youth Organization (C.Y.O.)
  • 1972-1975    Cathedral of St. Catherine of Siena (Allentown, PA)
  • 1975-1976    St. Ignatius Loyola (Reading, PA)
  • 1976-1977    Ss. Simon and Jude (Bethlehem, PA)
  • 1977-1982    Our Lady Help of Christians (Allentown, PA)
  • 1982-1986    St. Francis de Sales (Mount Carbon, PA)
  • 1986        Absent on Sick Leave
  • 1986-2001    Holy Family Manor
  • 1999         Retired

Summary of Abuse Allegations against Father Joseph Rock:

In 1986, the Diocese of Allentown received multiple reports that Father Joseph Rock had sexual contact with three different boys.  One of the boys claimed that Rock fondled him in 1983 when he was 9 years old.  The other two, brothers from his parish, claimed that Rock fondled both of them over their clothing in the early 1980s.

Rock was placed on “sick leave” and sent to the Servants of the Paraclete facility in New Mexico, a notorious treatment center for priests accused of sexual misconduct.  According to documents reviewed by the grand jury, the SOP reported that Rock’s prognosis was a “bleak picture,” meaning that he was likely to reoffend if placed in ministry again.  Another treatment professional wrote to the chancery in Allentown that Rock was “one of the worst cases he ever encountered.”  Despite such crystal clear warnings, Rock was allowed to return to ministry in the Diocese of Allentown, and he was assigned to a nursing home and priests’ retirement facility (Holy Family Manor).

In 1989, the Diocese of Allentown paid a local attorney a retainer fee to represent Rock in a matter not discussed by the grand jury in its August report.

In 1991 and 1992, it appears Rock was the subject of even more allegations of sexual misconduct with boys.  He admitted to some type of “roughhousing,” which led to him touching their genitals.

In 2000, the Diocese of Allentown received yet another allegation that Rock sexually abused boys in his care.  In this report, the victim reported being grabbed from behind and pulled into Rock’s body while Rock ground his erection against the boy.  He saw Rock do this to other boys as well.  By the time the boy was 12 or 13, Rock was reaching into the boy’s pants to fondle him.

In 2000, the Diocese settled a civil lawsuit involving Rock for $305,000, according to the grand jury report.

In 2001, Rock retired as chaplain of the Holy Family Villa (nursing home) amidst an investigation by the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare that he had sexually abused two elderly male residents.

In 2003, another man reported to the Diocese of Allentown that he was sexually abused by Rock when he was in 7th or 8th grade.  The grand jury did not disclose the location or the years of the abuse, however.  But, more importantly, when confronted with the allegation, Rock told the Diocese of Allentown officials that the abuse “could have happened” because it was “in keeping with the way he acted with other victims.”

In 2004, Rock was named in five civil lawsuits arising from sexual abuse.

In 2007, still another man reported to the Diocese of Allentown that he was sexually abused from 6th through 8th grade by Rock (approx. 1979-1981), while Rock was assigned to Our Lady Help of Christians in Allentown.  He described fondling, mutual oral copulation, and sodomy.

Rock was laicized in 2005, according to the Diocese of Allentown’s August 2018 list of credibly accused priests.  He is believed to be residing in the Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, area.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of Allentown.  If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in Pennsylvania, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those abused by Catholic clergy in the Diocese of Allentown may have legal options against the Diocese of Allentown.

Contact us at (954) 641-2100 or adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com today.

Fr. Dennis Rigney (Diocese of Allentown)

Fr. Dennis Rigney

Diocese of Allentown (Pennsylvania)

Ordained: 1966

Retired: 2002

Named in civil lawsuit: 2004

Assigned as follows:

  • 1966        St. Peter (Reading, PA)
  • 1966-1974    Various diocesan chancery assignments
  • 1974        St. Peter (Reading, PA)
  • 1974-1977    Various diocesan chancery assignments
  • 1977-1978    St. Paul (Allentown, PA)
  • 1978-1986    Various diocesan chancery assignments
  • 1987        St. Francis of Assisi (Allentown, PA)
  • 1987-2002    Various diocesan chancery assignments

Summary of Abuse Allegations against Father Dennis Rigney:

While it is true that Father Dennis Rigney worked in various administrative positions for most of his 35 year career as a priest, he also had multiple assignments in parish ministry.  Additionally, while his assignment history was discussed in great length in the August 2018 grand jury report, where he was assigned to live (“in residence”) was not listed. It is entirely possible he lived and did supply ministry at parishes not listed above.

In 1987, the Diocese of Allentown received a letter written to Archbishop Daniel Pilarcyzk of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.  In the letter, a woman informed the Archbishop that Rigney fondled her vaginal area when she was about 12 or 13 years old.  No additional information about the dates or location of the abuse, or why the victim reported it to Cincinnati, was included in the grand jury summary of documents reviewed.

In 1988, another woman approached the Diocese of Allentown to report that Rigney had digitally penetrated her vagina as a child. In response, Rigney sent the Bishop of Allentown a 23-page document denying the allegations and attempting to discredit the accuser.  The grand jury did not disclose the dates of the abuse nor any action taken by the Diocese in response to the allegation.

In 1989, a former employee of Holy Family Manor, where Rigney was either living or working, wrote to Bishop Welsh of the Diocese of Allentown to inform him that she was recently forced to resign her position as a nurse’s aid at HFM because she refused to submit to Rigney’s sexual advances.  She told him that it was an ongoing problem with female employees and that she tried to complain about it to her supervisors, who in turn pressured her to resign.

In 2002, another woman reported to the Diocese of Allentown that she was sexually abused by Rigney as a 9 or 10 year old girl in 1966 or 1967.  Her sister later told her that Rigney had done the same to her.  The abuse is alleged to have occurred at St. Peter’s in Reading, when he took the sisters on a trip to the river to waterski.

Less than two weeks later, Rigney asked the Bishop of Allentown for early retirement, citing medical issues.  He is alive, according to the Diocese of Allentown’s August 2018 list of credibly accused perpetrators.  He is believed to be residing in Allentown, Pennsylvania.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of Allentown.  If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in Pennsylvania, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those abused by Catholic clergy in the Diocese of Allentown may have legal options against the Diocese of Allentown.

Contact us at (954) 641-2100 or adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com today.

Fr. Edward Coleman (Diocese of Allentown)

Fr. Edward Coleman

Diocese of Allentown

Ordained: 1970

Died:   2007

 

Assigned as follows:

1970-1974        Ss. Simon and Jude (Bethlehem, PA)

1974-1975        Our Lady of Mount Carmel (Nesquehoning, PA)

1975-1977        St. Patrick (McAdoo, PA)

1977-1980        St. Vincent de Paul (Girardville, PA)

1980-1996        St. Mary Star of the Sea (Branchdale, PA)

1989-1996        Sacred Heart (Newton, PA)

1996-2002        Sacred Heart (Nesquehoning, PA)

2002-2007        St. Bartholomew (Brockton, PA)/St. Bertha (Brockton, PA)

Coleman’s name appeared on the Diocese of Allentown’s August 2018 list of credibly accused perpetrators, but he was neither named nor discussed in the grand jury report.  No information was made public about the sexual abuse allegation(s) against Coleman, including the year, location, or context of abuse.

According to the Diocese of Allentown, Coleman died in 2007, and the first allegation was not made until after his death.  At the time of his death, he was in active ministry.

 

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of Allentown.  If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in Pennsylvania, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those abused by Catholic clergy in the Diocese of Allentown may have legal options against the Diocese of Allentown.

Contact us at (954) 641-2100 or adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com today.

Fr. Charles Ruffenach (Diocese of Allentown)

Father Charles Ruffenach

Diocese of Allentown (Pennsylvania)

Ordained: 1930

Died: 1980

Assigned as follows:

  • 1930-1931        Holy Ghost (Bethlehem, PA)
  • 1931-1934        St. Mary of the Assumption (Philadelphia, PA)
  • 1934-1979        St. John the Baptist (Stiles, PA)
  • 1979-1980        Holy Family Villa

Summary of Abuse Allegations against Father Charles Ruffenach:

Ruffenach was ordained for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and incardinated into the Diocese of Allentown when it was formed in 1961.

In 2001, the Diocese of Allentown received an allegation that Ruffenach abused a young boy from approximately 1945 until 1953 (Grades 1-8) at St. John the Baptist.  Ruffenach referred to the inappropriate touching as “washing his penis” to normalize it with the boy.

According to documents reviewed by the grand jury, the victim confronted Ruffenach in the 1980s and he denied any wrongdoing.  Instead, Ruffenach told the man that it was his doing, that he (the boy) had asked Ruffenach to wash his penis.

Ruffenach died in 1980. The Diocese of Allentown stated that he retired in 1979.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of Allentown.  If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in Pennsylvania, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those abused by Catholic clergy in the Diocese of Allentown may have legal options against the Diocese of Allentown.

Contact us at (954) 641-2100 or adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com today.

Fr. John Pascal Sabas (Diocese of Allentown)

Father John Pascal Sabas

Diocese of Allentown (Pennsylvania)

Ordained: 1954

Named in a civil lawsuit: 1989

Died: 1996

Assigned as follows:

  • 1955-1957        Vocations Director (New York)
  • 1957-1958        House DIscretus and Purser (New York)
  • 1958-1960        St. Vincent de Paul (Pittsburgh, PA)
  • 1960-1962        Sacred Heart (Yarmouth, ME)
  • 1962-1963        St. Joseph (Portland, ME)
  • 1963-1964        St. Francis of Assisi (Minersville, PA)
  • 1964-1965        St. Francis of Assisi (Allentown, PA)
  • 1965-1966        St. Patrick (Pottsville, PA)
  • 1966-1967        BIshop’s Relief Agency (West Schuylkill, PA)
  • 1967-1977        St. Vincent de Paul (Girardville, PA)
  • 1977-1980        St. Ignatius Loyola (Sinking Spring, PA)
  • 1980-1983        Diocesan chancery assignments
  • 1983-1985        St. George (Shenandoah, PA)
  • 1985            Return to religious life
  • 1986            St. Anthony (Easton, PA)
  • 1987-1989        St. John the Baptist (Shillington, PA)
  • 1989-1991        Absent on Sick Leave
  • 1991            Retired

Summary of Abuse Allegations against Father John P. Sabas:

It appears from his assignment history that Sabas was originally ordained a priest of a religious order, rather than for the Diocese of Allentown, though the name of the Order is not disclosed in the grand jury report.  At some point, he likely became incardinated into the Diocese of Allentown, though it appears he unsuccessfully tried to return to the Order in 1985.  There are numerous red flags in his assignment history that would merit additional investigation in the event a lawsuit were filed against the Diocese of Allentown as they may suggest a history of abuse allegations.

In 1974, a young man approached the Diocese of Allentown and reported that he was sexually abused by Sabas at the age of 14, in 1964.  He recalls that Sabas abused him in the basement of the boy’s family home, at school, and in the church after mass. The abuse ended when Sabas was transferred to a new parish.

In 1989, the man sued the Diocese of Allentown and obtained a monetary settlement.  Notably, Sabas was not removed from ministry until after the lawsuit was filed, more than 15 years after the Diocese of Allentown first became aware of the allegations.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of Allentown.  If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in Pennsylvania, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those abused by Catholic clergy in the Diocese of Allentown may have legal options against the Diocese of Allentown.

Contact us at (954) 641-2100 or adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com today.

Fr. William Shields (Diocese of Allentown)

Fr. William Shields

Diocese of Allentown (Pennsylvania)

Ordained: 1958

Died: 2000

Assigned as follows:

  • 1958-1960        St. Ambrose (Schuylkill Haven, PA)
  • 1960-1962        St. John the Baptist de la Salle (Shillington, PA)
  • 1962            St. Mary (Hamburg, PA)
  • 1962-1964        Annunciation B.V.M. (Shenandoah, PA)
  • 1964-1967        Director, Bishop’s Relief (Schuylkill County)
  • 1967-1968        St. Paul (Allentown, PA)
  • 1968-1969        St. Lawrence (Catasauqua, PA)
  • 1969-1972        St. Ann (Lansford, PA)
  • 1972-1974        St. Peter (Reading, PA)
  • 1974-1995        St. Nicholas (Weatherly, PA)
  • 1995-2000        Pastor Emeritus- St. Nicholas (Weatherly, PA)

Summary of Abuse Allegations against Father William Shields:

In 2002, a man reported to the Diocese of Allentown that he was sexually abused by Fr. WIlliam Shields at St. Ann’s in Lansford when he was about 12 or 13 years old.  Under the guise of giving the boy a massage as thanks for helping out at a parish picnic, Shields fondled the terrified boy.  He immediately told his mother and a parish deacon.  Three months later, Shields told the parish that he was being transferred, and the victim believes it was related to his report.

In 2004, another man came to the Diocese of Allentown to report that he too had been abused at St. Ann’s parish.

Shields died in 2000 as a priest in good standing.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of Allentown.  If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in Pennsylvania, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those abused by Catholic clergy in the Diocese of Allentown may have legal options against the Diocese of Allentown.

Contact us at (954) 641-2100 or adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com today.

Fr. Stephen F. Shigo (Diocese of Allentown)

Fr. Stephen F. Shigo

Diocese of Allentown (Pennsylvania)

Ordained: 1978

Died 1991 (age 38)

Assigned as follows:

  • 1978-1981        Holy Guardian Angels (Hyde Park, PA)
  • 1981            St. Ambrose (Schuylkill Haven, PA)
  • 1981-1983        Area Chaplain Catholic Scouting (West Schuylkill County)
  • 1983-1984        Regional Director, C.Y.O.
  • 1984-1985        Regional Director, Youth Ministry
  • 1985-1991        Regional Director, Family Life Bureau

Summary of Abuse Allegations against Father Stephen Shigo:

Father Stephen Shigo had only a brief tenure as a priest in the Diocese of Allentown due to his death in 1991 at a relatively young age.

In 2011, the father of a victim contacted the Diocese of Allentown to report that his son was abused by Shigo on at least one occasion, but he was unable to offer many details.  In 2012, the victim himself found enough courage to contact the Diocese of Allentown and reported that he was abused several times between 8th and 9th grades at St. Ambrose church, where Shigo was assigned in 1991.  The grand jury report does not include specifics as to the nature or context of the abuse.

That Shigo’s assignments included a chaplaincy with the Cub Scouts and involvement in the C.Y.O. suggests that he could have man more victims suffering in silence.  Please know that if you were hurt by Shigo, you are not alone and there is help available for you.

Shigo was himself a graduate of Marian Catholic High School (class of 1970).  His high school graduation photo appears above.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of Allentown.  If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in Pennsylvania, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those abused by Catholic clergy in the Diocese of Allentown may have legal options against the Diocese of Allentown.

Contact us at (954) 641-2100 or adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com today.

Fr. David A. Soderlund (Diocese of Allentown)

Father David A. Soderlund

Diocese of Allentown (Pennsylvania)

Ordained: 1965

Inpatient treatment: 1980

Removed from ministry: 1989

Laicized (removed from priesthood): 2005

Arrested: 2009

Assigned as follows:

  • 1965-1966    St. Peter (Coplay, PA)
  • 1966-1971    Sacred Heart (West Reading, PA)
  • 1971-1973    St. Catherine of Siena (Reading, PA)
  • 1971-1978    Holy Name High School (Reading, PA)
  • 1971-1978    Adult Religious Education (Berks County)
  • 1973-1974    St. John the Baptist (Shillington, PA)
  • 1974-1978    St. Benedict (Reading, PA)
  • 1978-1980    St. Joseph (Summit Hill, PA)
  • 1980        Sick Leave (St. John Vianney Hospital)
  • 1980-1981    Our Lady of Hungary (Northampton, PA)
  • 1981        St. Catherine of Siena (Reading, PA)
  • 1982-1986    Whereabouts unknown
  • 1986-1989    Good Samaritan Hospital (Pottsville, PA)
  • 1989        Faculties Withdrawn/Administrative Leave

Summary of Abuse Allegations against Father David Soderlund:

  • THE FIRST THREE BOYS

According to the grand jury report, the Diocese of Allentown received three separate complaints about David Soderlund’s misconduct with children in 1980.  The allegations included three different boys, aged 12 to 13, according to the grand jury’s summary of documents reviewed.  As part of the investigation, Diocese of Allentown officials reviewed several photo albums containing photos of Soderlund engaging in sexual activity with the boys.  After several months of investigation, Soderlund admitted to Diocese of Allentown officials that he engaged in sexual activity with the three boys.

According to the grand jury report, Soderlund often and regularly abused boys at a trailer he kept near the Appalachian Trial Sites, and that he threatened to kill or otherwise harm at least one of the boys if he did not submit to the sexual contact.  Soderlund was removed from ministry and sent to St. John Vianney, a notorious treatment facility used by the Diocese of Allentown to treat pedophile priests.  His whereabouts for the next two years (including after he left the treatment facility) are not listed in the grand jury report.

The grand jury report also summarizes the Diocese of Allentown’s conversations with local law enforcement in 1980: “…the prosecutor had assured him that if the parents would not make an issue of the matter, he would not prosecute.  The prosecutor made it clear that he understood Father Soderlund would no longer be stationed in Carbon County.”  According to another memo, the prosecutor said of the pornographic photos of the boy, “the Diocese should retain these photographs for a reasonable period of time.  [The prosecutor] did not want to view any of the commercially produced pornographic material and stated [the Diocese of Allentown] could destroy it.”

  • FOLLOWING 60 DAYS OF SEX OFFENDER TREATMENT, SODERLUND RETURNS TO MINSTRY TO ABUSE AGAIN

After two months at St. John Vianney for treatment, Soderlund was reassigned to ministry in the Diocese of Allentown with the full knowledge and permission of the Vatican.  Involving the Vatican in such decisions is an unusual step, and no explanation is provided by the grand jury as to why the Diocese of Allentown elected to involve the higher ranks of Catholic leadership.

Not long after his return to ministry, “Diocesan records indicated that at this time Soderlund began to act out sexually with a young boy.”  Once again, Soderlund was removed from ministry temporarily, only to be returned to a new assignment.

In 1987, a Good Samaritan Hospital Administrator contacted the Diocese of Allentown to report concerns about how much time Soderlund was spending with an 8 year old boy.  The hospital wanted him fired immediately.  According to documents reviewed by the grand jury, the Diocese of Allentown’s attorneys suggested that Soderlund simply be moved to a new hospital where he could stay busier and avoid temptation.  The Diocese had a bit of a quandary.  As pointed out by Msgr. Mutone in an internal memo: “If we do manage to place Soderlund after being fired by Good Samaritan we will have an even harder time convincing the others we have no place for them,” referring to other accused priests.  Soderlund was finally placed on administrative leave in February 1989 – almost two years after Good Samaritan asked for him to be fired.

  • SODERLUND CLAIMS EMPLOYMENT DISCRIMINATION AFTER HIS REMOVAL

Soderlund later sued the Diocese of Allentown multiple times for violation of his civil rights and discrimination protections, alleging that to fire him (or place him on leave) for a sexual addiction was a violation of protections for disabled persons.

  • THE LONG OVERDUE POLICE REPORT AND CONVICTION OF SODERLUND

In 2009, Soderlund was arrested and convicted of sexual exploitation of a child and possession of child pornography in Dubois, Wyoming. He is a registered sex offender in Wyoming and is believed to be residing in the Dubois area.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of Allentown.  If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in Pennsylvania, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those abused by Catholic clergy in the Diocese of Allentown may have legal options against the Diocese of Allentown.

Contact us at (954) 641-2100 or adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com today.

Msgr. Henry E. Strassner (Diocese of Allentown)

Msgr. Henry E. Strassner

Diocese of Allentown (Pennsylvania)

Ordained: 1947

Absent on Sick Leave: 1993-1994

Retired/promoted to Pastor Emeritus: 2003

Died: 2009

Assigned as follows:

  • 1947        St. Charles Borromeo (Cornwell Heights, PA)
  • 1947-1961    Allentown Central Catholic High School and Notre Dame (Bethlehem, PA)
  • 1962-1963    Notre Dame (Bethlehem, PA)
  • 1963-1964    Notre Dame High School (Green Pond, PA)
  • 1964        St. Michael (Easton, PA)
  • 1964        St. Bernard (Easton, PA)
  • 1966-1968    Council of Priests/Diocesan Consultors
  • 1968        St. Paul (Allentown, PA)
  • 1968-1969    Director, Family Life Bureau
  • 1969-1974    Various Diocesan Assignments
  • 1974        St. Paul (Allentown)
  • 1974-1993    Various Diocesan Assignments
  • 1993-1994    Sick Leave
  • 1994-2000    St. Jerome (Tamaqua, PA)
  • 2000-2003    Council of Priests
  • 2003        Reitred/Pastor Emeritus of St. Paul (Allentown, PA)

Summary of Abuse Allegations against Father Henry Strassner:

Father Henry Strassner’s first documented complaint of misconduct in the Diocese of Allentown came in 1988, when a 19 year old young man reported that he had been kissed on the lips several times – “in the same way a woman would kiss” – during a counseling session with Strassner.  Strassner originally denied even knowing the man when confronted by Diocese of Allentown officials but eventually confessed to the kisses, saying they had a therapeutic benefit.  He was sent to see a counselor by the Diocese of Allentown, who told the Diocese that “there was a lot more going on here than Father Strassner has admitted,” according to the grand jury report.

In 1991, the Diocese of Allentown received two allegations that Strassner had sexually abused two boys in his care.  One reported he was between the ages of 6 and 9 when the abuse occurred, and that he was being forced to see Strassner by his parents for behavioral issues.  The other allegation was less specific, according to Diocese of Allentown files, but spoke of multiple priests being involved. Abuse of the boys included fondling and oral sex upon the victims.

According to the grand jury, “there is no indication the Diocese took any action,” in response to either report.

In 2001, another man approached the Diocese of Allentown to report that Strassner made sexual advances toward him during counseling sessions.  The wording of the grand jury summary is not totally clear on the details, but it suggests that the incidents were recent in time to the 2001 report and that the man was an adult.

In 2004, a man reported that he was sexually assaulted in 1977 as a young (but adult) man at St. Paul’s church.  He said that he went to confession or counseling with Strassner, who French kissed him and tried to get the man to expose himself.  He provided the names of approximately 25 other men that Strassner propositioned or assaulted.

In 2011, a man reported to the Diocese of Allentown that he was in the 7th or 8th grade when Strassner sexually abused him.  He was forced to perform oral sex on Strassner, who also forcibly performed oral sex on the boy.

As stated by the grand jury, the notes by Msgr. Mutone, who held a leadership role in the Diocese of Allentown, “were commonly addressed to the bishop at the time or forwarded to the bishop through another memorandum or note.  Personnel decisions were ultimately within the exclusive purview of the bishops, who continued to return Strassner to ministry within the Diocese after each allegation with little regard for Strassner’s record of abusing his position.”  The grand jury cites the specific example of returning Strassner to ministry for more than 10 years following his discharge from the Servants of the Paraclete facility for pedophile priests.

Strassner died a priest in good standing of the Diocese of Allentown in 2009.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of Allentown.  If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in Pennsylvania, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those abused by Catholic clergy in the Diocese of Allentown may have legal options against the Diocese of Allentown.

Contact us at (954) 641-2100 or adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com today.