‘You Robbed A Lot Of Life Out Of A Good Kid’: Alleged Victim Speaks Out after Former Priest Charged
By Matt Petrillo
September 3, 2019
A former Catholic priest from Bucks County is facing child sex abuse charges. The allegations came after Francis Trauger was transferred to several different church across the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.
Saint Michael The Archangel Church is the last church Trauger worked as a priest before his priesthood was taken away from him by the Catholic Church. It’s also where authorities say the victims were sexually abused by Trauger for years.
The 74-year-old, a former Philadelphia Archdiocese priest, said nothing when leaving his arraignment Tuesday in Bristol Township, Bucks County. But one of his alleged victims has plenty to say.
“You robbed a lot of life out of a good kid. I was a good kid. And I’m gonna watch you be brought to justice now,” Michael McDonnell said. “I am very elevated the wheels of justice are moving forward towards the predators.”
“He is charged with corruption of minors,” Bucks County District Attorney Matthew Weintraub said.
The Bucks County District Attorney says Trauger preyed on two altar boys — ages 11 and 12 — at Saint Michael The Archangel near Levittown. Authorities say Trauger molested the boys in the church sacristy, located behind the altar between 1993 and 2003.
“He abused his position of power in the name of God and the Catholic Church to molest these young men,” Weintraub said.
Trauger was named in a 2005 grand jury report detailing abuse allegations involving other churches where he was reassigned, like Saint Titus Church in Norristown.
The report also involved Trauger’s other alleged victims, like McDonnell, who was molested back in 1981, but Trauger could not be criminally charged for it because the statute of limitations had expired.
“It’s a clear-cut example here today why the statue of limitations need to be reformed here in Pennsylvania,” McDonnell said.
Trauger was released on an unsecured bail. His preliminary hearing is set for later this month.
The Archdiocese of Philadelphia says it fully cooperated with police.