Child-abusing Former Priest Arrested in Philadelphia, Local Leader and Survivor Reacts

Today, a child abusing former priest from Levittown, Francis Trauger, was arrested and charged with sexually assaulting two boys. The below statement is a personal statement from local Philadelphia SNAP leader Mike McDonnell who is also a survivor of Trauger:

“My phone rang early this morning from a trusted source who informed me that one of my abusers has been arrested and charged with sexual assault and corruption of minors.  He is the now-defrocked Francis Trauger, 74 yrs old. My heart goes out first to the victims in this case and to their families, they have long held the liability. They are my heroes today, courageous warriors! Trauger’s last assignment was from 1993-2003 and falls within the timeframe of the charges announced today. Bucks County District Attorney Matthew Weintraub said the assaults happened while Trauger was a priest at St. Michael the Archangel in Levittown, Pa. between 1993 and 2003. Trauger was defrocked in 2005.

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia knew that Trauger was an abuser as early as September of 1981. Today is 26 years from the date he had abused me and Trauger has finally been arrested. What a range of emotions that have traveled in my head in what was supposed to be a ‘back-to-school’ preparation day. I have prayed for this day for a very long time and feared very much for the number of victims accumulated by this monster.  I have wept tears of joy and tears of sadness. I can only think of what relief my 11-yearr-old self would have felt in 1981.

As a SNAP leader in Philadelphia, I call on the prosecutors to go further into the investigation and hold those who knew responsible. Now that he has been arrested, the investigation must go beyond Trauger’s abuse and also focus on the men who knew that Trauger was abusing children and chose to protect the reputation of their institution instead of children. If children are to be safer in the future, we must punish those who knowingly put children in harm’s way.

The bright side of my day: I had fellow SNAP members to grieve and be joyous with. I am most grateful. I encourage others who may be suffering in silence to come forward, make a report, and start healing.”

 

CONTACT: Michael McDonnell, Volunteer Philadelphia Area SNAP Leader (mcdo1268@gmail.com, 267-261-0578), Zach Hiner, SNAP Executive Director (zhiner@snapnetwork.org, 517-974-9009)

(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)


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