Fr. David H. Luck – Diocese of Harrisburg

Fr. David H. Luck – Diocese of Harrisburg

Ordained:    1987

Psychological evaluation: 1988

Suspended from Ministry: 1990

Involuntary removal from priesthood: 2005

Assigned as follows:
  • Summer 1986        St. Paul the Apostle (Annville, PA) as deacon
  • Spring 1987            St. Paul the Apostle (Annville, PA) as deacon
  • 1987-1989            St. Joseph (Mechanicsburg, PA)
Summary of Allegations against Fr. David Luck:

Luck completed his pre-ordination diaconate at St. Paul the Apostle parish in Annville, Pennsylvania.  During this time, he became close to one family in the parish, who often had the young seminarian over to their home for dinner and sometimes overnight stays.  In 1988, the parents learned that Luck sexually abused their two sons during these stays. By that time, Luck was an ordained priest of the Diocese of Harrisburg and working at St. Joseph.

The priest who received the initial report immediately reported it to Bishop William Keeler. According to the report, Luck sodomized the 15 year old son.  He also fondled the boy’s genitals, as well as those of the 11 year old son.

In early 1989, Luck (who may have remained in ministry during this time) was sent to St. Luke Institute, a notorious pedophile priest evaluation and treatment facility, for evaluation.  While there, he wrote to the children at St. Joseph’s parish school that he could not wait to see them again.

According to a summary prepared by the Diocese of Harrisburg’s judicial vicar, SLI diagnosed Luck with paraphilia, an abnormal sexual deviation.  He admitted to his therapists that he fantasized about having sex with boys. SLI recommended that the Diocese of Harrisburg restrict Luck’s ministry but not allowing any ministry with children or adolescents.

Luck’s ministry faculties were not suspended until mid-1990, when the new Bishop, Nicholas Dattilo, arrived in Harrisburg.

In late 1990, Luck admitted to Chancery officials that he was a pedophile.  He was ordered to have no contact with children, especially the two boys he abused in Annville. Not long afterward, however, Luck saw one of them at a church festival and went out of his way to engage the boy.

There is no evidence that the Diocese of Harrisburg reported the allegations (and admissions) to law enforcement.  However, the Annville family reported the abuse to police in 1996, though it is not clear from the grand jury report what prompted them to do so. Luck was never charged with any criminal conduct.

In 1996, when it was evident he would not be returned to ministry, Luck apparently applied for a job at a mental health agency.  The agency contacted the Diocese of Harrisburg. Rather than alert the potential employer to the threat of harm Luck posed to the vulnerable, the Diocese merely wrote a vague letter that Luck was relieved of his priestly duties “because of conduct unbefitting a minister of the Church…and does not have authorization to present himself or work as a priest.”

After many years of canonical appeals, the Vatican laicized Luck in 2006.

Luck is still living. His current whereabouts (and occupation) are unknown.  The Diocese of Harrisburg has offered no such information to the general public.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of Harrisburg.  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 Harrisburg now have legal options to recover damages due to a compensation fund created for victims.  Contact us at (954) 641-2100 or adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com today.