Fr. John G. Allen – Diocese of Harrisburg

Fr. John G. Allen (Diocese of Harrisburg)

Fr. John Allen

Ordained: 1970

Inpatient evaluation: 1991

Arrested: 1992

Resigned: 2002

Named in Civil Lawsuits: 2002, 2005, 2018

Laicized (removed from priesthood): 2006

Assigned as follows:
  • 1970-1971        Assumption BVM (Lebanon, PA)
  • 1971-1976        St. Patrick (Harrisburg, PA)
  • 1976            St. Francis Xavier (Gettysburg, PA)
  • 1976-1978        St. Francis of Assisi (Harrisburg, PA)
  • 1978-1980        St. Ann (Steelton, PA)
  • 1980-1986        St. Pius X (Selinsgrove, PA)
  • 1986-1992        St. Joseph (Lancaster, PA)
  • 1991            Inpatient Evaluation – Villa St. John Vianney
  • 1992-1993        Leave of Absence
  • 1993-1995        St. Theresa (Cumberland, PA)
  • 1995-2002        St. Margaret Mary (Harrisburg, PA)
  • 2002            Resigned after credible allegation of abuse
Summary of Allegations against Fr. John G. Allen:

According to the 2018 Grand Jury report, the Diocese of Harrisburg first became aware of problematic sexual behavior as early as January 1970, several months before he was ordained, but no details are offered as to the knowledge or diocesan response.  From our experience, the pre-ordination evaluation of predator priests sometimes contains code words that suggest the candidate is struggling with the idea of celibacy or that he seems “too interested” in the younger seminarians. While we cannot definitively say this was the case with Fr. Allen without having seen his personnel file, it is clear that something in the records raised concerns for the Grand Jury.  At any rate, he was ordained in spite of the problems.

In 1991, Allen was sent for an inpatient evaluation at the notorious treatment facility for pedophile priests, Villa St. John Vianney, in Downington, Pennsylvania.  Again, the Grand Jury does not offer details as to why this step was taken, but it is typically done after there have been multiple allegations made any all attempts at internal diocesan corrective action has failed.  Therefore, we suspect that Allen may have been the subject of allegations (or rumors/suspicions) throughout the 1970s and 1980s.

In 1992, several months after his evaluation at St. John Vianney and after he had been returned to parish ministry, Allen was arrested by Lancaster Police for solicitation of an undercover police officer (prostitution).  The event was brought to the attention of the Diocese of Harrisburg by several parishioners at St. Joseph’s parish in Lancaster who were familiar with the case. They also mentioned that Allen was inviting altar boys into his bedroom at the parish rectory.   Allen was put on a leave of absence. He eventually pled guilty and paid a small fine.

In 1993, another priest informed then-Bishop Nicholas Dattilo that he had “received information” that Allen attended a Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous (SLAA) meeting and confessed that he was a pedophile who had “an obsession with young boys.”  He was assigned to a new parish – St. Theresa in Cumberland, Pennsylvania.

He remained in parish ministry for nearly 10 more years until 2002, when another man came forward to report to the Diocese of Harrisburg that he had been sexually abused by Allen from ages 14-18.  The teenager was not a parishioner, but rather a boy that Allen initially “picked up” on the street in Harrisburg. Allen engaged him in sexual contact 10-15 times, including fondling, oral sex, and mutual masturbation.  In response, the Diocese of Harrisburg restricted Allen’s priestly faculties and he eventually resigned from ministry.

In early 2003, another man reported to the Diocese of Harrisburg that he was sexually abused as a teenager by Allen at St. Pius X in Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania.  He also witnessed Allen abuse other teen boys at the parish. The victim reported that they each received $40 or $50 to go to the rectory, sit in a circle around a candle, and masturbate while Allen watched.  The man also reported that Allen brought him to a motel in Harrisburg where they engaged in mutual fondling and oral sex. Allen paid the boy for the sexual contact. After the man turned 18, and after Allen was transferred to St. Joseph in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Allen would arrange for the young man to come to visit.  Again, Allen paid him for all manners of sexual contact.

In 2015, another man reported that he was sexually abused while he was an altar server at St. Patrick in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, around 1971.  Allen brought the boy to his private quarters in the rectory and pressured him into a game of strip poker. The report does not indicate if there was any type of touching.

In March 2019, Allen was arrested and charged with sexually abusing two former altar boys between 1997 and 2002, while he was assigned to St. Margaret Mary in Harrisburg.  The criminal proceedings are still open.

Allen has been named in at least three civil lawsuits relating to sexual abuse.

Allen was removed from the priesthood (laicized) in 2006.  He is 75 years old and has been residing in York, according to media reports.

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 may have legal options against the Diocese of Harrisburg.

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