Disgraced Catholic Priest Francis Trauger Pleads Guilty, SNAP Reacts
A former Catholic priest and serial child abuser from Levittown, Francis (Frank) X. Trauger, will plead guilty to charges he sexually assaulted two boys. We are grateful to the police and prosecutors who pursued this case and secured some measure of justice for Trauger’s victims. We are confident that without their involvement, children would still be at risk.
The Archdiocese of Philadelphia knew that Trauger was an abuser in the early 1980s. Ultimately, it is because of secular law enforcement professionals, not Catholic officials, that Trauger can no longer hurt children. We hope that today’s plea will bring comfort to his survivors and also remind parishioners and the public in Pennsylvania that all cases of abuse should be reported to police and prosecutors, not the Church.
This story is an example of the power that survivors have when speaking publicly about their abuse. Two of the victims involved in this case came forward after hearing Mike McDonnell speak publicly about being abused by Trauger and his fight for justice. When one survivor speaks truth to power, it can be an example to others, and thanks to Mike’s willingness to speak out and demand justice, others came out of the woodwork to join that fight. We are grateful to Mike and to every abuse survivor who speaks out because their bravery helps prevent future cases of abuse from occurring.
We hope that prosecutors will continue to press on in their investigations and work to hold responsible those who knew about Trauger’s behavior but did not take appropriate action. Abuse in institutions does not happen in a vacuum and we believe that it is only when enablers are punished that change will truly happen. If children are to be safer in the future, we must hold accountable those who knowingly put them in harm’s way.
This case never would have been prosecuted were it not for the efforts of Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro and his team who exposed still-hidden cases of sexual abuse and cover-up in the Catholic Church. These secular investigations help prevent future cases of abuse and should be undertaken in every single state in the country. We believe that every attorney general in the US should follow in A.G. Shapiro’s footsteps, convene a grand jury, and begin uncovering hidden abusers and their enablers in their own states.
(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)