Delaware Catholic Priest Arrested for Child Porn, SNAP Calls for Outreach

A Delaware Catholic priest who frequently traveled overseas has been arrested for possessing child pornography. We call on his superiors to ensure that parents and parishioners at every location at which the cleric worked are notified and that anyone with information about these crimes or any others are encouraged to come forward and report to the police.

By our count, the arrest of Fr. William McCandless is the 22nd this year of a Catholic priest or staffer, showing that the abuse scandal remains a significant problem in the Church. To us, the most disturbing aspect of this case is that our organization warned Catholic officials in 2010 about Fr. McCandless and urged them to investigate him and to suspend him during the investigation. Instead, SNAP was ignored and over time Fr. McCandless amassed “thousands of images of child pornography” on trips between the United States and Europe. Our hearts break for the children whose abuse is perpetrated again every single time one of these images is shared. We are also outraged that the Oblates of St. Francis DeSales, the Catholic Order into which Fr. McCandless was ordained, allowed the priest to keep working despite testimony under oath from the plaintiff in a child sex abuse case that Fr. McCandless had admitted to him that the clergyman abused a 14-year-old French boy attending a church camp.

Multiple federal agencies have been involved in the investigation into Fr. McCandless and we hope that justice will finally be served in this case. At the same time, Catholic officials must now use every resource at their disposal to ensure that every parish and community where the cleric worked are informed of the multiple allegations against the clergyman and to encourage any survivors or witnesses to report to law enforcement.

Similarly, Fr. McCandless should be added to every single list of accused priests in every diocese in which he worked. He should also be added to the Oblates list of accused clerics. Given that a witness to the cleric’s admission of abuse has already testified and the fact that physical abuse and child porn have a strong correlation, we fear that there may be victims still suffering in silence today.

CONTACT: Zach Hiner, SNAP Executive Director ([email protected], 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

Showing 2 comments

  • Okkervil Abanico
    followed this page 2020-12-04 12:16:55 -0600
  • Zach Hiner
    published this page in Official SNAP Media Statements 2020-12-04 11:56:36 -0600

SNAP Network is a GuideStar Gold Participant