Fr. Joseph Bonner – Diocese of Scranton

Fr. Joseph Bonner

Diocese of Scranton

Joseph Bonner Diocese of Scranton Horowitz Law

Ordained: 1953

Retired: 1998

Removed: 2002

Died: 2007

Assigned as follows:

  • 6/1953 – 9/1954: St. Ann’s (Freeland, PA)
  • 9/1954 – 3/1964: St. Nicholas (Wilkes -Bane, PA)
  • 3/1964 – 6/1964:  Ascension (Williamsport, PA)
  • 6/1964 – 1/1970: St. Francis (Nanticoke, PA)
  • 1/1970 – 9/1970: St. Cecilia (Wyoming, PA)
  • 9/1970 – 1/1972: St. Juliana (Rock Lake, PA)
  • 1/1972 – 6/1981: Resurrection (Muncy, PA)
  • 6/1981 – 6/1982: St. Patrick’s (Milford, PA)
  • 6/1982 – 9/1982: St. Paul’s (Scranton, PA)
  • 9/1982 – 9/1985: St. James (Pleasant Mount, PA)
  • 9/1985 – 7/1998: Sacred Heart of Jesus (Weston, PA)
  • 7/1998 – 6/2002: Retired, Sacred Heart of Jesus (Weston, PA)

Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations against Fr. Joseph Bonner:

According to the 2018 PA Grand Jury Report, the Diocese of Scranton received the first allegation against Fr. Joseph Bonner in 2002, when an attorney contacted the Diocese of Scranton on behalf of a client sexually abused in 1975.  According to the attorney, the victim’s family was visiting from out-of-state, and Bonner invited them to spend a night in the rectory at Resurrection in Muncy, Pennsylvania. That night the boy awoke to Bonner in his bed, stroking his penis.  When the boy objected and asked what Bonner was doing, the priest replied, “I am sorry…I shouldn’t have done that. Go back to bed.”

The Bishop of Scranton responded to the attorney advising him that Bonner had retired. He also “stated that the Diocese was appalled the alleged behavior would ever happen, or that such an accusation would be made against one of their priests.”  Bishop Timlin then suggested that the victim contact the priest directly to put the matter to rest. By this time, Bishop Timlin had been advised by the District Attorney that the statute of limitations had expired on any criminal charges that could be brought against Bonner.

Bishop Timilin later reiterated that the Diocese of Scranton would never entertain any discussions of settling the victim’s claim because Bonner was “the responsible party” so complaints were best addressed to him directly. Bonner later paid the victim $25,000.00 in a confidential settlement.

In 2004, another man came forward to report his own abuse by Bonner as a teenager at Resurrection in the early 1970s. The Diocese of Scranton later paid for his counseling.

Bonner remained a priest of the Diocese of Scranton until his death in 2007.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of Scranton. 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 Scranton may 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 Pennsylvania and nationwide. We can help. 

Contact us at (888) 283-9922 or adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com to discuss your options today.