Father Joseph Houston
Diocese of Scranton
Resigned ministry (temporary): 1982
Removed from ministry: 2002
Assigned as follows:
- 1964-1966: St. Thomas More (Lake Ariel, PA)
- 1966-1970: St. Peter (Wellsboro, PA)
- 1970-1977: St. Paul (Scranton, PA)
- 1977-1980: Holy Child (Mansfield, PA)
- 1980-1982: St. Thomas More (Lake Ariel, PA)
- 1982-2002: St. Vincent de Paul (Plymouth, PA)
Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations against Fr. Joseph Houston:
Fr. Joseph Houston was ordained a priest in 1964, who served in multiple parishes in the Diocese of Scranton. According to media reports, in 1971, a parish priest reported directly to then-Bishop J. Carroll McCormick that Father Joseph Houston and a young, underage female were seen going into a local motel several times and always late at night. They were also regularly seen in public together around town. There is no indication that Bishop McCormick took any action in response to the report, and Houston continued in ministry unrestricted.
In 2002, the girl seen with Houston in the 1971 report contacted the Diocese of Scranton to report that she was sexually abused by Houston from the ages of 14 to 17. Houston continued in ministry for nearly two months while nothing was done. He was finally removed from ministry in late June 2002, following the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops annual meeting in Dallas in which the “zero tolerance” policy of sexual misconduct allegations was adopted with all of its loopholes and contradictions.
Houston was laicized by the Vatican in 2004.
In 2018, he was first named publicly as accused in the PA Grand Jury Report.
He is believed to be residing in the Plymouth, Pennsylvania, area, though the Diocese of Scranton reported he was last known to be living in the Naperville, Illinois, area.
Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of Scranton. If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in Pennsylvania, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those abused by Catholic clergy in the Diocese of Scranton may have legal options, but filing deadlines will apply so do not delay in reaching out to us. Our lawyers have decades of experience representing survivors of clergy sexual abuse in Pennsylvania and nationwide. We can help.