Fr. Francis Joseph McNelis (Diocese of Allentown)

Father Francis Joseph McNelis

Diocese of Allentown (Pennsylvania)

Ordained: 1965

Sick Leave/Inpatient Treatment: 1993-1994

Named in multiple civil lawsuits: 2004

Retired: 2002

Died: 2005

Assigned as follows:

  • 1965-1966        Annunciation B.V.M. (Shenandoah, PA)
  • 1966            St. Joseph (Girardville, PA)
  • 1966-1967        Regional Director, C.Y.O. (East Schuylkill County)
  • 1967-1969        Regional Director, Thanksgiving Clothing Drive
  • 1969-1970        St. Jerome (Tamaqua, PA)
  • 1970            St. Theresa (Hellertown, PA)
  • 1970            Regional Director, C.Y.O. (Northampton County)
  • 1970-1972        St. John the Baptist (Shilington, PA)
  • 1972            St. Francis (Easton, PA)
  • 1972-1974        Regional Director, Thanksgiving Clothing Drive
  • 1974-1975        St. Ann (Emmaus, PA)
  • 1975-1980        St. Mary/St. Boniface (St. Clair, PA)
  • 1980-1985        St. Mary (St. Clair, PA)
  • 1985-1993        St. Mary (Hamburg, PA)
  • 1993-1994        Absent on Sick Leave
  • 1994-2002        St. Ignatius Loyola (Sinking Spring, PA)
  • 2002            Retired

Summary of Abuse Allegations against Father Francis McNelis:

In 1992, the Diocese of Allentown received a report from a man that he was sexually abused by Fr. Francis McNelis between 1966 and 1968, when the boy was approximately 10-13 years old.  He alleged that McNelis forced him to engage in mutual fondling and attempted to coerce him into anal sex.  The mutual fondling occurred on five or six occasions.

The following year, McNelis was sent to a notorious treatment facility in Jemez Springs, New Mexico, run by the Servants of the Paraclete to serve the needs of pedophile priests.  Following his stay in New Mexico, McNelis was assigned to St. Ignatius Loyola parish. According to the grand jury report, McNelis repeatedly asked to be reassigned but was ordered to stay in parish ministry by the Diocese of Allentown until his retirement in 2002.

In 2004, another victim came forward to report sexual abuse by McNelis to the Diocese of Allentown.  He alleged that when he was approximately 16 years old in 1968, McNelis performed oral sex on him several times.

McNelis was the subject of two lawsuits in 2004.


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 today.