Father John Franklin
Diocese of Alexandria
- Ascension of Our Lord (Donaldsonville, LA)
- St. Gabriel (New Orleans, LA)
- St. Mary’s Assumption (Cottonport, LA)
- St. Anthony (Cottonport, LA)
- St. Joseph Church (Tensas, LA)
- St. Louis Church (Glenmora, LA)
- Holy Trinity (Shreveport, LA)
- St. Anne Catholic Church (Pensacola, FL)
Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations against Father John Franklin
In February of 2019, the Diocese of Alexandria identified Fr. Jonathan “John” Franklin on its list of clergy credibly accused of sexually abusing minors. While it is unclear exactly how many allegations exist in Fr. Franklin’s file, it is evident that accusations against him span at least three decades.
In its list, the Diocese of Alexandria announced Fr. John Franklin allegedly abused a male minor in 1966. In 2004, the Permanent Review Board—an entity that evaluates the credibility of sexual abuse allegations made against clerical members—investigated the allegation and deemed it credible. In 2005, the victim received a settlement. However, further details about the nature of the abuse and the size of the settlement are not publicly available.
An accurate and complete record of Fr. Franklin’s assignment history is also currently unavailable. Sources say the Diocese of Alexandria refused to release Fr. Franklin’s assignment history to prevent re-traumatizing communities.
According to a news report, the 2004 investigation into the 1966 allegation against Fr. Franklin led the Permanent Review Board to uncover other allegations they later deemed credible, including an accusation made in 1959.
What Is Publicly Known About the 1959 Allegation against Fr. Franklin
Although officials have not released any details about the 1959 allegation, sources say Fr. Franklin was removed from public ministry shortly after the incident was reported. From his removal in 1959 to his resurface in Alexandria in 1964, Fr. John Franklin’s whereabouts are unknown. In fact, the Archdiocese of New Orleans says they have no record of Fr. Franklin’s whereabouts after his removal.
Sources also indicate Fr. Franklin’s name was removed from the Catholic Directory in 1963. According to a representative of BishopAccountability.org, an omission from the Catholic Directory is a “tell,” as the directory operates like a yearbook for Catholic priests in the country.
What Is Publicly Known About Fr. Franklin’s Whereabouts and the 1985 Allegation
After returning to ministry, Fr. John Franklin began going by Jonathan instead of John, evidenced in the 1977 Catholic Directory. During this time, sources say he served as a retreat center director at St. Bernard Abbey in Cullman, Alabama.
In the ten years following his tenure at St. Bernard, Fr. John Franklin became pastor of St. Anne Catholic Church in Pensacola, Florida. According to news reports, a 12-year-old altar boy reported Fr. Franklin molested him at the church in March 1986. Fr. Franklin was subsequently arrested and charged for lewd acts involving a minor. A few weeks before the trial, he died by suicide at St. Bernard Abbey.
While Fr. John Franklin was identified by the Diocese of Alexandria in its list of clergy credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors, the Archdiocese of New Orleans, the Diocese of Baton Rouge, and the Diocese of Birmingham identified Fr. Franklin in their lists, as well. More information about any additional allegations is not known publicly.
Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of Alexandria in Louisiana. If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in Louisiana, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those abused by Catholic clergy in the Diocese of Alexandria may now have legal options, but filing deadlines will apply so do not delay in reaching out to us. Our lawyers have decades of experience representing survivors of clergy sexual abuse in Louisiana and nationwide. We can help.