Fr. Frederick Vaughn – Diocese of Harrisburg

| Nov 16, 2018 | Abuser Profiles, Catholic Church

Fr. Frederick Vaughn – Diocese of Harrisburg

(a/k/a Frederick Joseph Von Hartensten)

Ordained: 1937

Retired: 1986

Died:    1992

Assigned as follows:
  • St. Peter (Elizabethtown, PA)
  • St. Luke the Evangelist Mission (Greencastle, PA)
  • St. Catherine Laboure (Harrisburg, PA)
  • St. Joseph (York, PA)
Summary of Abuse Allegations against Fr. Frederick Vaughn:

In 2002, the Diocese of Harrisburg received a letter from a parishioner who alleged that Frederick Vaughn molested both of her daughters while he was assigned St. Catherine Laboure and may have continued into his assignment at St. Joseph in York. According to the mother, her daughters were around 9 or 10 when their respective abuse began and involved fondling their genitals.

A second mother contacted the Diocese of Harrisburg later that same year to report that their daughters were molested by Vaughn as well.  Her first daughter was molested from ages 3-16 by Vaughn (1961-1974). That abuse would have begun at St. Catherine and continued into his assignment at St. Joseph as well. This time, the mother alleged that Vaughn not only fondled her daughter but also had vaginal and anal intercourse with her.  The second daughter was abused from ages 5 to 10 (1958-1963), but this time the abuse was seemingly limited to fondling.

In 2004, a woman contacted the Diocese of Harrisburg to report that she was abused by Vaughn around age 11 or 12 (1958) while attending the parish school at St. Catherine Laboure.  She said that Vaughn pinned her against a wall so she could not move and fondled her genitals from behind as he rubbed against her.

Later that same year, a third parent reported that her daughter was also abused at St. Catherine Laboure.  Vaughn was a regular guest in the family home and, on one occasion, she walked into a room and saw Vaughn’s hands on her daughter’s breasts (over her clothing).  Vaughn said nothing; he calmly got up and left the home. The mother never told anyone what she saw and Vaughn continued to visit the family home.

In 2012, St. Catherine Laboure was contacted by a woman who said she was molested by Vaughn for several years.  Sometimes, the abuse occurred at nearby Mermaid Lake; Vaughn would fondle her under the water so no one could see.

Strangely, neither the grand jury report nor the Diocese of Harrisburg’s release of priest assignments contains any information about Vaughn’s assignments before 1958.  The first 20 years of his priesthood has simply vanished for reasons that are not clear.

Vaughn died in 1992. He remained a priest in good standing until his death, albeit a retired one.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims of sexual abuse in the Diocese of Harrisburg and throughout Pennsylvania.  The Diocese of Harrisburg filed for federal bankruptcy protection in February 2020. Anyone sexually abused by a priest or employee of the Diocese of Harrisburg may be entitled to file a claim against the Diocese in these bankruptcy proceedings, but very strict filing deadlines apply.  Most victims of abuse in the Diocese of Harrisburg will never be able to take action against the Diocese of Harrisburg if they miss this bankruptcy filing deadline, so it is important that you contact us immediately to discuss your potential case.

Contact us at 888-283-9922 or [email protected] to discuss your legal options today.