Msgr. Henry E. Strassner (Diocese of Allentown)

Msgr. Henry E. Strassner

Diocese of Allentown (Pennsylvania)

Ordained: 1947

Absent on Sick Leave: 1993-1994

Retired/promoted to Pastor Emeritus: 2003

Died: 2009

Assigned as follows:

  • 1947        St. Charles Borromeo (Cornwell Heights, PA)
  • 1947-1961    Allentown Central Catholic High School and Notre Dame (Bethlehem, PA)
  • 1962-1963    Notre Dame (Bethlehem, PA)
  • 1963-1964    Notre Dame High School (Green Pond, PA)
  • 1964        St. Michael (Easton, PA)
  • 1964        St. Bernard (Easton, PA)
  • 1966-1968    Council of Priests/Diocesan Consultors
  • 1968        St. Paul (Allentown, PA)
  • 1968-1969    Director, Family Life Bureau
  • 1969-1974    Various Diocesan Assignments
  • 1974        St. Paul (Allentown)
  • 1974-1993    Various Diocesan Assignments
  • 1993-1994    Sick Leave
  • 1994-2000    St. Jerome (Tamaqua, PA)
  • 2000-2003    Council of Priests
  • 2003        Reitred/Pastor Emeritus of St. Paul (Allentown, PA)

Summary of Abuse Allegations against Father Henry Strassner:

Father Henry Strassner’s first documented complaint of misconduct in the Diocese of Allentown came in 1988, when a 19 year old young man reported that he had been kissed on the lips several times – “in the same way a woman would kiss” – during a counseling session with Strassner.  Strassner originally denied even knowing the man when confronted by Diocese of Allentown officials but eventually confessed to the kisses, saying they had a therapeutic benefit.  He was sent to see a counselor by the Diocese of Allentown, who told the Diocese that “there was a lot more going on here than Father Strassner has admitted,” according to the grand jury report.

In 1991, the Diocese of Allentown received two allegations that Strassner had sexually abused two boys in his care.  One reported he was between the ages of 6 and 9 when the abuse occurred, and that he was being forced to see Strassner by his parents for behavioral issues.  The other allegation was less specific, according to Diocese of Allentown files, but spoke of multiple priests being involved. Abuse of the boys included fondling and oral sex upon the victims.

According to the grand jury, “there is no indication the Diocese took any action,” in response to either report.

In 2001, another man approached the Diocese of Allentown to report that Strassner made sexual advances toward him during counseling sessions.  The wording of the grand jury summary is not totally clear on the details, but it suggests that the incidents were recent in time to the 2001 report and that the man was an adult.

In 2004, a man reported that he was sexually assaulted in 1977 as a young (but adult) man at St. Paul’s church.  He said that he went to confession or counseling with Strassner, who French kissed him and tried to get the man to expose himself.  He provided the names of approximately 25 other men that Strassner propositioned or assaulted.

In 2011, a man reported to the Diocese of Allentown that he was in the 7th or 8th grade when Strassner sexually abused him.  He was forced to perform oral sex on Strassner, who also forcibly performed oral sex on the boy.

As stated by the grand jury, the notes by Msgr. Mutone, who held a leadership role in the Diocese of Allentown, “were commonly addressed to the bishop at the time or forwarded to the bishop through another memorandum or note.  Personnel decisions were ultimately within the exclusive purview of the bishops, who continued to return Strassner to ministry within the Diocese after each allegation with little regard for Strassner’s record of abusing his position.”  The grand jury cites the specific example of returning Strassner to ministry for more than 10 years following his discharge from the Servants of the Paraclete facility for pedophile priests.

Strassner died a priest in good standing of the Diocese of Allentown in 2009.

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.