Fr. David Arsenault
Diocese: Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown PA
On 2/6/16 Bishop Bartchak announced that Arsenault and Rev. James Coveney had been put on leave while the diocese reexamined allegations of abuse. The PA Attorney General’s 3/1/16 Grand Jury Report, describes sexual assaults in the early 1980s by Arsenault of a boy age 17-18, while assigned to St. Joseph’s in Renovo PA. The priest became chaplain of a local high school’s athletics program, hanging out with the boys in the locker room. One boy’s parents encouraged their son to spend time with Arsenault, who insisted he counsel the boy at the parish twice a week. During sessions Arsenault would “wrestle” with the boy, then massage him, touching his legs and thighs. At least once he tried to grab the boy’s penis. On a trip to D.C. the boy awoke to Arsenault grinding his penis into him and kissing him. The victim went on to attempt suicide twice. Arsenault remained in ministry, even after admitting to diocesan officials in 2005 to “horseplay” with the boy.
Our Database of Publicly Accused does not state or imply that individuals facing allegations are guilty of a crime or liable for civil claims. The reports contained in the database are merely allegations. The U.S. legal system presumes that a person accused of or charged with a crime is innocent until proven guilty. Similarly, individuals who may be defendants in civil actions are presumed not to be liable for such claims unless a plaintiff proves otherwise. Admissions of guilt or liability are not typically a part of civil or private settlements. For more information, see our posting policy.