Former Catholic Priest from York County Arrested, Accused of Molesting Two Altar Boys
By Candy Woodall
York Daily Record
March 14, 2019
A defrocked York County priest was arrested Thursday morning on charges that he molested two altar boys between 1997 and 2002.
John G. Allen, who served in several parishes throughout Lebanon, Gettysburg, Selinsgrove, New Cumberland, Steelton, Lancaster and Harrisburg, is facing four counts of indecent assault and two counts of corruption of minors, according to the Dauphin County District Attorney's Office.
|John G. Allen is charged with four counts of indecent assault and two counts of corruption of minors. (Photo: Submitted)|
Allen, a 75-year-old York County resident, abused the victims while they served as altar boys at St. Margaret Mary's Alacoque Church in Harrisburg, the criminal complaint said.
More: Priest accused of rape, defrocked - then got government job helping mentally disabled people
One victim said he was fondled from ages 10 to 13. The other victim said he was assaulted from ages 12 to 14, according to the district attorney's office.
Allen in August was among 301 abusive priests named in a Pennsylvania grand jury report and 71 named by the Diocese of Harrisburg.
A former altar boy filed a lawsuit in August against the Diocese of Harrisburg, claiming former Bishop William Keeler failed to protect him from an abusive priest.
Diocese concerns about priest date back to 1970
The Harrisburg diocese was concerned about Father John Allen's sexual behavior in January 1970, but did not intervene for two decades.
In those 20 years, Allen sexually abused multiple young boys, according to the grand jury report, and, in 1992, he was arrested in Lancaster for soliciting an undercover officer for sex.
The diocese sent him for a mental health evaluation in 1991. Two years later, Bishop Nicholas Dattilo was told Allen went to a Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous meeting, where the priest "gave the impression to members that he was a pedophile and had an obsession with young boys," according to diocese records shared in the grand jury report.
Dattilo didn't remove him from practice. Instead, Allen took a leave of absence from St. Joseph in Lancaster in November 1992 and was reinstated eight months later at St. Theresa in New Cumberland, where he served from 1993 to 1995.
After a man came forward in April 2002 and reported he was abused by Allen for four years, from age 14 to 18, the Harrisburg diocese removed him as a priest.
Two months later, the diocese received a call to verify his employment for a new job. The caller didn't want any additional information or a reference.
And Father M. McFadden said, "I did not volunteer any additional information," according to the Pennsylvania grand jury report.
Allen was officially dismissed from the Catholic church by Pope Benedict XVI on Feb. 17, 2006.
The diocese on Thursday released the following statement:
"The Diocese of Harrisburg removed John Allen from ministry 17 years ago immediately upon receiving a credible allegation of child sexual abuse against him. That allegation was also turned over to law enforcement and publicly announced by the Diocese at that time.
Every allegation of child sexual abuse concerning Allen has been reported by the Diocese to multiple law enforcement authorities. Allen’s name was released by the Diocese of Harrisburg in our list of clergy, deacons and seminarians with allegations of child sexual abuse on August 1, 2018 and he was included in the Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report.
As the District Attorney’s office acknowledged, today’s charges were the result of reports made to their office by the Diocese.
We condemn John Allen’s actions and we fully support law enforcement and we cooperated with them on this case.
Allen is not now, and has not been for over a decade, a priest of the Catholic Church. Bishop Ronald Gainer, on behalf of the Church, extends our prayers, heartfelt sorrow and apologies to all survivors of clergy sexual abuse."
Victims still urged to report past abuse
Allen is the first priest in the Harrisburg diocese to be arrested after the Pennsylvania grand jury report ignited a new fight in the global priest abuse scandal that was first exposed by The Boston Globe in 2002.
For many victims, the hope of criminal justice in child sexual abuse cases has been lost to Pennsylvania's statute of limitations. But Allen's arrest shows the need to report crimes and that it's possible they can still be prosecuted, according to the district attorney's office.
More: A powerful lobby blocked changes in Pa. child sex abuse laws. Here's who and here's why.
“There is a lot of confusion about the statute of limitations for sexual abuse crimes. I encourage anyone who has been the victim of abuse, even if you think it is too late to report, please report your abuse to authorities," Chief Deputy District Attorney Sean M. McCormack said. "In this case, while the abuse occurred over 20 years ago, we are still able to bring charges because of the extended statute of limitations for sexual crimes committed against minors.”
Prosecutors are encouraging anyone with information on Allen to contact Det. John O'Connor at JO'Connor@dauphinc.org