Father John Cannon
Archdiocese of Philadelphia
Placed on leave: 2005
Suits filed: 2004 & 2006
Assigned as follows:
- 1948: SS. Cosmas/Damian (Conshohocken, PA)
- 1948-1958: Saint John Neumann High School (Philadelphia, PA)
- 1948-1956: All Saints (Philadelphia, PA)
- 1956-1964: St. Monica (Philadelphia, PA)
- 1958-1963: Roman Catholic High School (Philadelphia, PA)
- 1964-1965: St. Gertrude (West Conshohocken, PA)
- 1963-1965: Office of Catholic Education
- 1965-1966: St. Eugene, (Primos, PA)
- 1966: St. Andrew (Drexel Hill, PA)
- 1966-1985: Cardinal O’Hara High School (Springfield, PA)
- 1966-1985: St. Andrew (Drexel Hill, PA)
- 1982: St. Agnes/ St. John Nepomucene (Philadelphia, PA)
- 1985-2003: St. Joseph Home for Aged
- 1985-2003: Villa Joseph Marie
Summary of Allegations Against Father John Cannon:
Father John Cannon was ordained a priest in 1948 and served in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. He served in multiple parishes throughout his career. According to the Philadelphia 2005 Grand Jury Report, he molested eight teenage boys at a church summer camp from 1959 through 1964. The boys had complained to the Archdiocese of Philadelphia that Father John Cannon would sneak into their cabins at camp in the night and molest them. Father Cannon allegedly admitted to some, but not all, of the sexual abuse.
According to the report, a letter sent to the Archdiocese on July 5, 1964, by Father John Murphy, notifies the Chancellor of reports that Father Cannon is abusing several boys at St. Monica’s summer camp. The report also notes a memo from 2002 in which Secretary for Clergy Lynn suggests there is insufficient evidence to restrict Fr. Cannon’s faculties, even though he had previously admitted molesting boys. The victim referred to in the memo (whose name is whited out) was one of the boys listed in Fr. Murphy’s 1964 letter to the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Allegedly the Archdiocese of Philadelphia responded by ordering the priest to “desist” and by transferring him to a different parish, with no restrictions on his conduct.
The report also claims that in 1992, one of the priest’s victims contacted the Philadelphia Archdiocese officials to report the continuing effect of Father Cannon’s abuse. The victim was assured that in cases such as Father Cannon and sexually abusive priests are removed from their present situation, evaluated and treated, and not allowed again to work with Children. However, that was not true in the case of Father Cannon. According to the report, he failed to undergo treatment and was allowed to continue teaching at a girls’ school until he retired in February 2004.
In March 2004, following an Archdiocesan Review Board inquiry, the Philadelphia Archdiocese found the reports of father Cannon’s victims credible, and imposed restrictions on Father Cannon’s ministry and referred the case to the Vatican for review of laicization. However, Father Cannon agreed to the removal of his priestly faculties, to forgo the Church penal process and to accept the imposition of a supervised life of prayer and penance. Civil suits were filed against him in 2004 and 2006.
Cannon died in 2017.
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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.