Former Philadelphia priest pleads guilty to decades-old sex assaults of altar boys in Bucks County

Philadelphia Inquirer

July 8, 2020

By Vinny Vella

After years of dodging allegations of abusing children, a former Catholic priest pleaded guilty Wednesday to molesting two altar boys in Bucks County decades ago.

Francis Trauger, 74, admitted his guilt to two counts of indecent assault of a minor, and Bucks County Judge Jeffrey L. Finley sentenced him to 18 to 36 months in a state prison and seven years’ probation.

Trauger did not speak during the hour-long hearing, which played out in a mostly empty courtroom, with only a few onlookers and a huddle of journalists.

His attorney, Brian McVann, said that the defrocked priest’s conduct “cannot be defended” and that Trauger felt compelled to admit his guilt and take responsibility for his actions.

“He has done great good in his life,” McVann said. “Unfortunately, it has been lost in this case.”

Finley, in handing down the sentence, told Trauger that any good he had done during his decades-long tenure with the church had been “torn down” and destroyed by these actions.

“I don’t know that you truly understood that,” the judge said. “Or at least that you truly didn’t understand that until you were arrested.”

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