Ex-roman Catholic Priest Who Lives in York County Pleads Guilty to Sexually Abusing 2 Boys
By Dylan Segelbaum
York Daily Record
November 5, 2020
A former priest who is one of more than 300 clergy named in a landmark investigating grand jury report about widespread sexual abuse and institutional coverup in the Roman Catholic Church in Pennsylvania pleaded guilty on Thursday in Dauphin County to assaulting two altar boys between 1997 and 2002.
John Allen, 76, of West Manchester Township, appeared via video conference before Common Pleas Judge Deborah E. Curcillo, and admitted to sexually touching the boys over their clothes while at St. Margaret Mary Alacoque Church in Penbrook. He’s set to be sentenced to five years’ probation on Jan. 21, 2021, as part of a plea agreement on charges of indecent assault and corruption of minors.
In response to questions from Chief Deputy District Attorney Jennifer Gettle, Allen answered with, “Yes, indeed” and “I understand that, yes.” He sat next to his attorney, Brian Perry, who is reserving discussing the case until sentencing.
Gettle said the survivors were between 10 and 12 at the time. The sexual abuse, she said, was not disclosed to law enforcement until more than a decade later.
The sentencing guidelines for the crimes, at that time, called for probation. The men are now 31 and 35, respectively.
In 2018, a Pennsylvania investigating grand jury report identified Allen as one of 301 “predator priests.”
The Diocese of Harrisburg expressed concern about Allen’s “sexual behavior” as far back as 1970, according to the report. He’s served in parishes in Cumberland, Dauphin, Lancaster, Lebanon and Snyder counties.
In 1992, the Lancaster City Bureau of Police arrested Allen after he solicited an undercover police officer for sex. He pleaded guilty to harassment in exchange for paying a fine. Parishioners, the report states, had also heard that he’d invited altar boys into his room.
Next, in 1993, the Rev. Paul Helwig wrote a memo to Bishop Nicholas Dattilo, stating that Allen had attended a Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous meeting and gave the impression that he was a pedophile who had “obsession with young boys,” according to the report.
Following a report to the diocese that he had sexually abused a man from 14 to 18, Allen resigned in 2002, the report outlines. Pope Benedict XVI granted dispensation from the clergy in 2006.
Allen will have to register as a sex offender for a minimum of 10 years. He’s free on $25,000 unsecured bail, according to court records.