Fr. Joseph H. Kean – Diocese of Allentown

Father Joseph Kean

Diocese of Allentown

Joseph Kean Diocese of Allentown Horowitz Law

Ordained: 1964

Retired: 2002

Laicized: 2007

Assigned as follows:

  • 1964: St. Joseph (Ashland, PA)
  • 1964-1965: St. Mary (St. Clair, PA)
  • 1965-1967: St. Paul (Allentown, PA)
  • 1967-1970: St. Paul (Reading, PA)
  • 1970-1971:  Annunciation (Shenandoah, PA)
  • 1971-1973: Marian High School (Tamaqua, PA)
  • 1971-1973: Our Lady of Mount Caramel (Nesquehoning, PA)
  • 1973-1975: Ss. SImon and Jude (Bethlehem, PA)
  • 1975-1977: St. Jane Frances de Chantal (Easton, PA)
  • 1977-1983: Ss. Peter and Paul (Tower City, PA)
  • 1983-1987: Ss. Peter and Paul (Lehighton, PA)
  • 1987-1993: St. Joseph (Ashland, PA)
  • Feb. 2002: Retired

Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations against Fr. Joseph Kean:

Fr. Joseph Kean was ordained a priest in 1964, who served in multiple parishes in the Diocese of Allentown. According to media reports, in 2018, he was first named publicly as accused in the PA Grand Jury report. It noted that as early as 1992, the Diocese of Allentown had actual, written acknowledgement that Fr. Kean was sexually abusing boys in his care when a priest wrote to then-Bishop Thomas Welsh that a woman said her son was molested by Kean.  The victim was 12 years old when the abuse started and it continued for several years at Ss. Peter and Paul in Tower City, Pennsylvania.

In 1993, the mother personally discussed the allegations with the Chancellor of the Diocese of Allentown. When confronted with the allegation, Kean admitted to sexually abusing the boy and admitted that he “had similar difficulties with other persons.”  He asked to be removed from the priesthood.  Instead, Bishop Welsh told Kean that he would be sent to the Servants of the Paraclete facility in New Mexico, a notorious center for pedophile priests, for treatment.

Though the grand jury report speaks little to the treatment, and his assignment history shows no sick leave, presumably Kean completed treatment.  What he did next is unclear; his assignment history shows no priestly ministry for nearly 10 years, but because he retired in 2002, he presumably was doing some type of ministry in the Diocese.

A second victim came forward to the Diocese of Allentown in 1999.  He alleged that he too was abused at Ss. Peter and Paul in Tower City as an altar boy.  On at least one occasion, he was with Kean at Kean’s parents’ house, where Kean insisted they share a bed.  Under the guise of providing him with a massage, Kean told the boy to undress and proceeded to massage the boy’s penis to ejaculation.

In 2002, a third man approached the Diocese of Allentown to report that he was abused by Kean after being introduced to him by Msgr. William Jones, who was a diocesan administrator at the time of the allegation. According to the victim, while Kean was working in Tower City, he brought the victim and several of his friends to Tower City and performed oral sex on several of them.  They were fifteen years old.

In 2005, two more individuals reported abuse to the Diocese of Allentown.  As in the other cases, they each reported being at the home of Kean’s parents or in his living quarters at Ss. Peter and Paul or St. Joseph.  Both of them were fifteen or younger at the time of the sexual contact.

In 2002, Kean retired from the priesthood and began receiving his pension, insurance, and benefits.  According to the grand jury, Kean retired voluntarily in early 2002.  As with several other priests who retired that same year, the Diocese of Allentown recently stated that it removed Kean from ministry, not that he retired voluntarily.

His name was included on the Diocese of Allentown 2018 list of clergy credibly accused of child sexual abuse.

Kean is still living and believed to be residing in the Lehigh Valley.

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