‘It’s their word against his’: Priest accused of sexually abusing boys goes to court

York Daily Record

April 24, 2019

By Candy Woodall

A compilation what’s happened since a sweeping grand jury report on decades of abuse by priests in Pennsylvania. Paul Kuehnel and Brandie Kessler and Mike Argento, York Daily Record

Their stories are strikingly similar, recorded three months apart by a Dauphin County detective.

They have names, but they’re known now as Victim 1 and Victim 2. Both men say John G. Allen sexually abused them from 1997 to 2002 while they were altar boys at St. Margaret Mary’s Alacoque Church in Harrisburg.

Allen, a 75-year-old defrocked priest who lives in York County, molested them in the rectory and the area where altar boys and priests put on their robes for mass, according to Detective John O’Connor.

As he faced the four counts of indecent assault and two counts of corruption of minors against him, Allen was unrecognizable as a priest in district court on Wednesday. He wasn’t wearing a white collar or black robe, and hasn’t since the Diocese of Harrisburg removed him from ministry in 2002.

During his preliminary hearing before District Judge Joseph S. Lindsey in Lower Paxton Township, Allen was wearing khaki pants, a short-sleeve blue checkered shirt and a smile as he walked from a private conference room to a seat next to his defense attorney, Brian Perry.

Allegations of abuse

By 2002, the diocese had received multiple allegations of abuse about Allen. None of them were punishable according to Pennsylvania’s statute of limitations on child sex abuse. None of the criminal allegations were reported by the diocese.

Allen was one of 301 “predator priests” identified by a Pennsylvania grand jury report and 71 named by the diocese in August. State laws ensured he was immune to punishment until October and February when two victims called Childline and reported abuse that fell within the statute of limitations.

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