Father Joseph Meighan
Diocese of Scranton
Assigned as follows:
- 1968: St. Ann (Shohola, PA)
- 1968-1970: St. Boniface (Williamsport, PA)
- 1970-1975: St. Matthew (East Stroudsburg, PA)
- 1975-1976: Student, St. Meinrad’s Seminary (Indiana)
- 1976-1981: St. Nicholas (Wilkes-Barre, PA)
- 1976-1981: Bishop Hoban High School (Wilkes-Barre, PA)
- 1981-1984: St. Martin of Tours (Jackson, PA)
- 1984-1987: St. Boniface (Wilkes-Barre, PA)
- 1987-1990: St. Therese (Shavertown, PA)
- 1991-2001: Holy Family Residence (Scranton, PA)
- 2001: Mercy Center Convent (Dallas, PA)
- 2001-2002: St. Mary’s Villa Nursing Home (Elmhurst, PA)
Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations against Father Joseph Meighan:
Father Joseph Meighan was ordained a priest in 1968, who served in multiple parishes in the Diocese of Scranton. According to media reports, in 1970, four boys were interviewed by Diocese of Scranton officials who reported that they were forced to disrobe by Father Joseph Meighan, who then fondled their genitals. Meighan was ordered to report for a psych evaluation and suspended from his assignment at St. Boniface in Williamsport, less than two years after being ordained a priest.
In 1990, a mother interrupted Meighan forcing her 17-year-old son to disrobe in the parlor of the St. Therese rectory. Meighan was again suspended (forced to resign) and sent for a psych evaluation and treatment. After his release, he was assigned as chaplain in a nursing home. The father of one of his victims protested the assignment because it was near where his son was molested. Meighan was immediately transferred to St. Mary’s Villa Nursing Home.
According to the grand jury report, the Diocese of Scranton received additional reports of abuse in 2003, 2007 and 2008.
On January 28, 2021, a lawsuit was filed against the Diocese of Scranton in Lackawanna County by attorneys Adam Horowitz and Jessica Arbour of Horowitz Law. The suit alleges Father Joseph Meighan sexually abused the now 30-year-old victim in 1995 when he was five years old. The abuse continued until 2002, when Meighan was finally relieved of his duties.
According to the suit, Meighan was a frequent guest at the boy’s home, as well as the homes of his grandmother and great-grandmother. He also served as a spiritual adviser to the boy. The suit claims that Meighan baptized the victim and presided over many Masses attended by the victim and his family at various parishes within the Diocese of Scranton.
A quick survey of Meighan’s assignment history also reveals potential red flags that could signal additional allegations of abuse. For example, he was transferred from his assignments at Bishop Hoban High School and St. Nicholas parish in December, rather than in May or September, the more usual time for priest assignments to change in the Scranton Diocese. While it is impossible to say conclusively what the reason for the transfer was without having seen Meighan’s entire personnel file, the timing certainly raises questions. Was there an allegation, rumor, or suspicion raised about Meighan’s conduct with boys around that time?
In 2018, Meighan was first named publicly as accused in the PA Grand Jury Report.
Meighan is still alive and believed to be residing in the Dunmore, Pennsylvania, area. While his faculties as a priest have been suspended, there is no evidence that he was removed from the priesthood (laicized).
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.