Fr. Franz Robier – Diocese of San Bernardino

Father Franz Robier

Diocese of San Bernardino

Franz Robier Horowitz LawOrdained: 1936 

Died: 1994

Assigned as follows:

  • 1937-1957: Unknown
  • 1958-1959: St. Joan of Arc (Victorville, CA)
  • 1960-1963: St. Anthony (San Bernardino, CA)
  • 1964: St Joan of Arc-Catholic Church (Victorville, CA)
  • 1966: St. John (Encinitas, CA)
  • 1967: St. Anthony (Riverside, CA)
  • 1968-1971: St. Didacus (San Diego, CA)
  • 1972-1975: St. Joan of Arc (Victorville, CA)
  • 1976-1982: St. Madeleine Church (Trona, CA)

Summary of Abuse Allegations against Father Franz Robier:

Fr. Franz Robier was an Austrian priest who moved to San Diego in 1955 and was incardinated in 1957. For almost thirty years, he worked at various parishes throughout Southern California. In 1957, Robier was sent for treatment at Via Coeli Monastery in Jemez Springs, New Mexico, an institution known for treating clergy accused of child sexual abuse. 

According to media reports, in 2003, Robier was accused of sexually abusing a 13-year-old girl while at the St. Anthony Parish in San Bernardino, CA. Following that first accusation, five women filed a lawsuit alleging Robier sexually abused them between 1955 and 1957 at the Church of the Holy Spirit in San Diego. They were all members of the church choir, between the ages of 8 and 11 when the alleged incidents occurred. The suit claimed the Diocese of San Diego covered up his misconduct after being told of the incident and sent him for treatment in New Mexico.

Robier has been named in several other San Diego suits. He has been accused of child sexual abuse, including rape, of as many as 24 girls from 1955 through the early 1960s while at 11 churches in San Diego, Riverside, and San Bernardino counties.

One lawsuit filed by four sisters in the fall of 2003, alleged that they were systematically abused by Fr. Franz Robier, when they were placed in foster care at a San Diego orphanage operated by Catholic Charities after being orphaned in Belgium in the 1950s. Their lawyer said that all abuse cases are egregious, “but these were particularly so”.

“The sisters all knew what one of them was enduring, at the beach, say, or in the water. At the dinner table, while one sister was made to sit on Robier’s lap, the others knew exactly what he was doing,” he said.

“What happened to us should never happen to any child,” said one alleged victim. “They knew this priest was molesting us, and they moved him around and let him molest other children”.

In March 2007, his name was included in the Diocese of San Diego’s list of clergy credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors. Claims against him were included in the Diocese of San Diego’s $200M settlement with survivors of child sexual abuse in September 2007. In October 2010, as part of a settlement with survivors of clergy sexual abuse, the Diocese of San Diego released his personnel file.

Robier died in 1994.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of San Bernardino. If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in San Bernardino, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those abused by Catholic clergy in the Diocese of San Bernardino now have legal options to recover damages due to a compensation fund created for victims. Call us at (888) 283-9922 or send an email to adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com to discuss your options today.