Fr. John A. Geinzer – Diocese of Pittsburgh

Father John A. Geinzer

Diocese of Pittsburgh

John Geinzer Horowitz Law

Ordained: 1967

Removed/Restricted: 2018

Assigned as Follows:

  • 1968-1973 – Parochial Vicar, St. Paul (Butler, PA)
  • 1973-1975 – Special Assignment, Office of Religious Education, Diocese of Pittsburgh Pastoral Center
  • 1973-1975 – Duquesne University – Graduate Studies
  • 1975-1980 – Assistant Director, Adult Religious Education, Diocese of Pittsburgh Pastoral Center
  • 1980-1990 – Associate Spiritual Director, Mount St. Mary Seminary (Emmitsburg, MD)
  • 1990-1991 – Parochial Vicar, Holy Innocents (Pittsburgh, PA)
  • 1991-1994 – Assistant Chaplain Nursing Home, McGuire Memorial Home (New Brighton, PA)
  • 1991-1994 – Administrator, St. Cyril & Methodius (New Brighton, PA)
  • 1994-2000 – Pastor, St. Colman (Turtle Creek, PA)
  • 2000-2007 – Chaplain Military -US Navy, Archdiocese for Military Services (Washington, DC)
  • 2007-2008 – Administrator, St. Barbara (Bridgeville, PA)
  • 2008-2011 – Parochial Vicar, St. John the Baptist (Pittsburgh, PA)
  • 2011-2018 – Chaplain, Little Sisters of the Poor (Pittsburgh, PA)
  • 2018 – Restricted from public ministry/Retired

Summary of Allegations Against Father John A. Geinzer:

According to the 2018 grand jury report,  in 1995 the Diocese of Pittsburgh received an allegation from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia that a man alleged he was fondled by Father John Geinzer in 1980 when he was 13 years old.  The information was personally forwarded by the Philadelphia Secretary for Clergy, Msgr. William Lynn, who advised that the boys’ family was very reputable and did not wish to make the information public.  The Diocese of Pittsburgh wrote to the man’s family to request additional information, but it would seem from the context of the grand jury report that no additional information was received and the matter was closed. 

In 2009, Geinzer – who was still in active ministry – requested Bishop David Zubik’s endorsement to serve as a chaplain on a cruise ship, which would require the Bishop attest that Geinzer “enjoys a good reputation and has no problems of a moral nature.”  Geinzer’s request was ultimately denied due to the 1995 allegation.  However, “Geinzer was assured…that the allegation would not affect his current standing in the Dicoese because the Diocese deemed it to be an inconclusive allegation.”  Despite the Bishop’s position that Geinzer did not “enjoy a good reputation” and/or had problems of a moral nature that could endanger cruise ship passengers, Geinzer remained in ministry at St. John the Baptist – which included oversight of the parish grammar school.  

In 2014, a woman called the Diocese of Pittsburgh concerning Father John A. Geinzer’s behavior around her eight-year-old son and other adolescent boys. She said that Geinzer made comments about how handsome her son was, touched him frequently, and overall seemed too interested in him. Her son said to her that her son did not want Geinzer touching him and was upset by the thought of talking to him. The woman added that she saw Father Geinzer touching a 13-year-old boy and making comments about his clothing. These uncomfortable instances occurred at Little Sisters of the Poor, where the woman and her family visited her parents.

Another memorandum in 2014 detailed a discussion between Father Eckman and Father Geinzer in which Eckman stated that Geinzer was making young boys uncomfortable by touching their backs for too long in public. He did not do this to the girls. Geinzer said he did not realize his conduct made children uncomfortable.  The Chancery told him not to touch minors anymore and he was sent on his way.  There is no indication that the 1995 allegations were revisited or any additional investigation was done – including contacting the mother of the boy who wrote the 2014 letter. 

Even after these reports, according to the grand jury report, the Diocese of Pittsburgh repeatedly and regularly attested that Geinzer had no allegations of misconduct in his past.  These letters, the purpose of which were unclear, were authored as recently as 2016 despite the fact that Bishop Zubik knew otherwise and previously denied requests to make such attestations.  

Father Geinzer was not restricted from public ministry until the fall of 2018, when the grand jury report was released.  

Geinzer is still living and is believed to be residing in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, area at a retirement home for priests.  He is 77 years old.  His current status with the Diocese of Pittsburgh is unknown and his name does NOT appear on the Diocese’s lists of accused priests. 

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