Fr. James M. McAuliffe – Diocese of Scranton

Father James McAuliffe – Diocese of Scranton

Fr. James McAuliffe

Ordained:    1942

Inpatient treatment: 1963

Died: 1989

Assigned as follows:

  • 1942            St. Ann (Tobyhanna, PA)
  • 1942-1945        St. Thomas (Archbald, PA)
  • 1945            Our Lady of the Snows (Clarks Summit, PA)
  • 1945-1947        St. Mary (Pittston, PA)
  • 1947-1953        St. Paul (Scranton, PA)
  • 1953-1954        St. Therese (Shavertown, PA)
  • 1954            St. Ann (Tobyhanna, PA)
  • 1954-1966        Holy Saviour (Wilkes-Barre, PA)
  • 1966-1969        St. Thomas (Dickson City, PA)
  • 1969-1973        St. James (Pleasant Mount, PA)
  • 1973-1989        St. David (Scranton, PA)
  • 1989            Pastor Emeritus, St. David (Scranton, PA)

Summary of Abuse Allegations against Father James McAuliffe:

In 1963, a boy reported that he had been touched inappropriately by Father James McAuliffe.  Indeed, the boy reported that he was not only touched, but sodomized, by the priest. The incident is documented in McAuliffe’s file.  He was removed from his assignment at Holy Saviour and sent to a treatment/rehabilitation facility in Kentucky for evaluation, although with some reticence, apparently.  A Chancery official wrote to the family that, while it was apparent McAuliffe was in need of psychiatric attention, it was only to make him a better priest since the victim was “over the age of reason” and therefore consented to the sodomy.

At the conclusion of his treatment, the treating psychiatrist deemed McAuliffe “cured,” but then-Bishop Hannan did not agree.  McAuliffe was sent to live with his sister for some time and did not immediately return to ministry. Notes in McAuliffe’s file indicate that Hannan feared future altar boys could still be in danger were he to return to a parish.

Hannan died not long after instituting this prohibition and his replacement, Bishop J. Carroll McCormick returned McAuliffe to ministry at St. Thomas in Dickson City.

In June 2010, a local Scranton newspaper featured an advertisement inquiring as to whether anyone served as an altar boy with McAuliffe who was also sexually abused by him.  The Diocese of Scranton contacted the number listed in the ad and a man reported that he was sexually abused by McAuliffe as a child (though the parish is not disclosed in the Grand Jury report).  In response, the Diocese of Scranton placed announcements in the parish bulletins where McAuliffe had been assigned and several men came forward to report their own abuse. The incidents occurred between 1954 and 1963 and included the victim in the 1963 report.

McAuliffe died in 1989 as a priest in good standing with an honorary assignment as Pastor Emeritus.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of Scranton.  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 Scranton 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.