Fr. Joseph Houston – Diocese of Scranton

Father Joseph Houston – Diocese of Scranton

Father Joseph HoustonFr. Joseph Houston

Ordained:     1964

Resigned ministry (temporary): 1982

Removed from ministry: 2002

Laicized (removed from the priesthood): 2004

Assigned as follows:

  • 1964-1966        St. Thomas More (Lake Ariel, PA)
  • 1966-1970        St. Peter (Wellsboro, PA)
  • 1970-1977        St. Paul (Scranton, PA)
  • 1977-1980        Holy Child (Mansfield, PA)
  • 1980-1982        St. Thomas More (Lake Ariel, PA)
  • 1982-2002        St. Vincent de Paul (Plymouth, PA)

Summary of Abuse Allegations against Father Joseph Houston:

In 1971, a parish priest reported directly to then-Bishop J. Carroll McCormick that Father Joseph Houston and a young, underage female were seen going into a local motel several times and always late at night.  They were also regularly seen in public together around town. There is no indication that Bishop McCormick took any action in response to the report, and Houston continued in ministry unrestricted.

In 2002, the girl seen with Houston in the 1971 report contacted the Diocese of Scranton to report that she was sexually abused by Houston from the ages of 14 to 17.  Houston continued in ministry for nearly two months while nothing was done. He was finally removed from ministry in late June 2002, following the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops annual meeting in Dallas in which the “zero tolerance” policy of sexual misconduct allegations was adopted with all of its loopholes and contradictions.

Houston was laicized by the Vatican in 2004.  He is believed to be residing in the Plymouth, Pennsylvania, area, though the Diocese of Scranton reported he was last known to be living in the Naperville, Illinois, area.  He is 81 years old.

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 now have legal options to recover damages due to a compensation fund created for victims.  Contact us at (954) 641-2100 or today.