Father David Danneker had served as second-in-command of the Pennsylvania Diocese since 2016.
On Friday, July 23, 2021, the Diocese of Harrisburg quietly announced that Fr. David Danneker, the Vicar General of the Diocese and Moderator of the Curia, had been placed on leave following an allegation of sexual misconduct. Until Friday, Danneker was also pastor at Prince of Peace parish in Steelton at the time of the announcement.
Very little information about the allegation was provided by the Diocese of Harrisburg except to say that the alleged victim is an adult female, and that the allegation does not involve child sexual abuse. No information was offered as to the timeline of the alleged sexual misconduct or where Danneker was assigned at the time of the alleged misconduct.
Notably the Diocese’s announcement also refers to “allegations” and “accusations,” both used in the plural form, so it is not clear if this is the first allegation of sexual misconduct to be made against Danneker or just the first to be made public by the Diocese.
The Diocese of Harrisburg filed for Chapter 11 federal bankruptcy protection in 2020, citing the potential financial exposure in numerous child sexual abuse lawsuits filed against it. Danneker has been actively participating in discussions with sexual abuse survivors and their attorneys to resolve the Diocese of Harrisburg’s bankruptcy proceeding. The Bankruptcy Court opened the claims process to both child and adult victims of sexual abuse, but it is unclear if Danneker’s alleged victim has taken any legal action relating to her allegation.
Danneker, who is second in command at the Diocese of Harrisburg as the Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia, was also appointed to run the Diocese of Harrisburg temporarily in early 2019 after Bishop Ronald Gainer underwent double knee surgery.
The Diocese of Harrisburg, which is currently in Chapter 11 bankruptcy, says that it has retained an unidentified third party firm to investigate the allegation. The Diocese has not committed to making the findings of the investigation public.
Danneker will remain on leave from his positions with the Diocese of Harrisburg while the investigation is pending, according to the Diocese’s statement.
Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims of sexual abuse in the Diocese of Harrisburg and throughout Pennsylvania. The Diocese of Harrisburg filed for federal bankruptcy protection in February 2020. Anyone sexually abused by a priest or employee of the Diocese of Harrisburg may be entitled to file a claim against the Diocese in these bankruptcy proceedings, but very strict filing deadlines apply. Most victims of abuse in the Diocese of Harrisburg will never be able to take against the Diocese of Harrisburg if they miss this bankruptcy filing deadline, so it is important that you contact us immediately to discuss your potential case.