Fr. Francis Trauger – Archdiocese of Philadelphia

| Dec 1, 2018 | Abuser Profiles, Catholic Church

Father Francis “Frank” Trauger

Archdiocese of Philadelphia

Ordained: 1972

Absent on sick leave: 1982

Removed from ministry: 2003

Laicized (removed from the priesthood): 2005

Named in civil lawsuit: 2012

Assigned as follows:

  • 1972-1976 St. Leo (Philadelphia, PA)
  • 1974-1976 St. Hubert High School (Philadelphia, PA)
  • 1976-1980 Holy Cross (Springfield, PA)
  • 1980-1981 St. Titus (Norristown, PA)
  • 1981-1982 St. Matthew (Philadelphia, PA)
  • 1982 Absent on Sick Leave
  • 1982-1985 St. Francis de Sales (Philadelphia, PA)
  • 1985-1988 St. Matthew (Conshohocken, PA)
  • 1988-1989 Annunciation B.V.M. (Philadelphia, PA)
  • 1989-1993 St. Joseph (Aston, PA)
  • 1993-2003 St. Michael the Archangel (Levittown, PA)

Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations against Father Francis “Frank” Trauger:

Father Francis “Frank” Trauger was ordained a priest in 1972 and served in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. He served in multiple parishes throughout his career. According to media reports, in mid-1981, a parish priest reported to the Archdiocese that two families reported that Trauger molested their sons, ages 12 and 13.  They had both been taken to the Poconos by Trauger, on separate occasions, and forced to a share a bed with the priest.

According to the Philadelphia 2005 Grand Jury Report, Trauger masturbated the boys and also tried to sodomize one of them. The Chancery official who received the report wrote only, “they shared the same bed and there were touches.”  Trauger admitted that he shared a bed with each of the boys, and that he “massaged” them. He denied any other contact with them, but he did admit to similar incidents with two more boys earlier in the year. The Archdiocese of Philadelphia did not record the names of the third and fourth boy because no one asked Trauger for their names.

In August 1982, Father Francis “Frank” Trauger was the subject of more allegations at St. Matthew.  According to Archdiocese records, he took a 14-year-old boy to his mountain home – as he had with the other four – and made him share a small sleeping bag in a tent, despite the fact that the home had two bedrooms.  He “tickled and wrestled” the child, who happened to be the son of a Philadelphia police detective. The boy told his father, who reported it to the morals division of the police department. The police made contact with the Chancery, who met with the father.  At the time, Trauger was on a two-week camping trip with two boys from the parish, and no attempt was made to contact him or the boys’ parents. The Archdiocese of Philadelphia never even asked the boys’ names.

When he returned home, Trauger was suspended from ministry pending an evaluation at Villa St. John Vianney, a notorious pedophile priest treatment center in Downingtown, Pennsylvania.  Upon his discharge, Trauger was assigned to St. Francis de Sales. Trauger was directed not to take boys on camping trips anymore but was also reminded that his job required him to participate in the parish’s  youth activities including, “visiting the school, moderating the altar boys…as well as the CYO.”

In 1991, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia received information that Trauger was stalking a student at St. John Neumann High School after first encountering him at a bookstore.  The investigation revealed that Trauger used his position as a priest to learn the boy’s personal information, using priests at the high school and the boy’s own parish priest to find out information.  He removed the boy from class and took him to a private room under the auspices of counseling him about homosexual pornography that he thought the boy was looking at. He made sexual advances toward the boy, who went home and told his mother.  She immediately called the school, which forwarded the info to the Chancery. Trauger admitted to his actions, though he characterized his efforts as having been done out of concern for the boy, who might be struggling with homosexuality. No one spoke to the boy until he came forward again a decade later.

In December 2003, following a grand jury subpoena of Trauger’s file, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia announced that Trauger had been removed from ministry following a more recent admission that he sexually abused three boys.  

Trauger was laicized in 2005.  

In September 2019, Trauger was arrested by law enforcement for sexually abusing two altar boys at St. Michael the Archangel between 1993 and 2003.  In July 2020, Trauger pleaded guilty to abusing the boys and was sentenced to 18- to 36-months in prison. He will become a registered sex offender upon his release.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. 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 Archdiocese of Philadelphia may have legal options, but filing deadlines will apply so please do not delay in reaching out to us.

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