Ex-Philly priest pleads guilty to decades-old sex assaults of altar boys

Philadelphia Francis Trauger Guilty

Title: Ex-Philly priest pleads guilty to decades-old sex assaults of altar boys
Author: Vinny Vella The Philadelphia Inquirer (TNS)
Publisher: Herald-Mail Media
Date: 08JUL2020

PHILADELPHIA — After decades of dodging allegations of abusing children, a disgraced 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.

Despite being named in multiple grand jury reports on the abuse of children by Catholic priests in the Philadelphia archdiocese, Trauger had not been prosecuted until the case that led to Wednesday’s guilty plea.

Trauger’s attorney, Brian McVann, said 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.”

But Finley, in passing down the sentence, told Trauger that any good he had done during his decadeslong 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.”

Two men, now in their 30s, told investigators Trauger groped them as they changed into their altar boy vestments before of Mass at St. Michael the Archangel Parish in Tullytown. The small community church was Trauger’s final assignment before he was named as an abuser in a sweeping grand jury report detailing decades of child abuse by priests in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and a massive cover-up by church officials.

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