Father William Yockey
Diocese of Pittsburgh
Withdrawn from Ministry: 1991
Assigned as follows:
- 10/13/1977-10/01/1978: Assumption Church (Bellevue, PA)
- 10/02/1978-6/28/1983: St. Bernadette (Monroeville, PA)
- 6/29/1983-5/31/1984: Department of Social & Community Development, Diocese of Pittsburgh
- 6/29/1983-5/31/1984: St. Canice (Pittsburgh, PA)
- 6/01/1984-2/16/1986: St. Therese of Lisieux (Munhall, PA)
- 2/17/1986-10/11/1987: St. Winifred (Mt. Lebanon, PA)
- 10/12/1987-7/25/1991: Allegheny County Jail
- 1/23/1989-4/20/1989: St. Luke (Carnegie, PA ) (In Reserve)
- 4/21/1989-7/25/1991: St. Anthony (Bridgeville, PA ) (In Reserve)
- 7/25/1991: Leave of Absence
Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations against Father William Yockey:
Father William Yockey was ordained a priest in 1977, who served in the Diocese of Pittsburgh. According to media reports, in May 1991, a man alleged he had been sexually abused by Father Yockey at the age of 16. He stated his friend had also been molested by the priest at the age of 18 within the same time period. They became friends with Yockey during his first parish assignment when they were in 6th or 7th grade, and continued the friendship when he was transferred to a new parish.
Yockey would often take the boys to his cabin outside the city to go fishing and always allow them to drink beer. On one occasion when one of the victims spent a night at Father Yockey’s new assignment, he indicated that Yockey sexually molested him in October of 1981. The pair had returned to the rectory following a Halloween party and both had been drinking. The victim fell asleep on the couch in Yockey’s den and, at some point, the victim fell off the couch and found Yockey fondling his genitals. Yockey then got on top of the victim and tried to kiss him.
Another victim alleged a similar situation at another parish assignment in 1983. He was 18 years old at the time. Both he and Father Yockey drank alcohol. The boy passed out and awoke to find Yockey feeling and attempting to kiss his genitals.
When confronted on May 20, 1991, Yockey confirmed that the incident with the first victim, age 16, was true. When asked about the second victim, age 18, Father Yockey did not recall anything, but did note they were probably drinking and that it was not impossible and won’t deny it.
Yockey was put on administrative leave from his assignment as chaplain to the Allegheny County Jail. On July 18, 1991, Yockey sent a letter of resignation to Bishop Donald Wuerl.
On December 17, 2013, an additional allegation was made by an individual who stated that he was molested as a young boy by Yockey. The victim attended St. Bernadette, where Yockey was assigned from 1978 to 1983. While the boy attended the parish, Yockey began to molest him.
The victim stated that Yockey performed oral sex on him in the rectory, in Yockey’s car, and even at his aunt’s home. The victim was offered counseling by the Diocese.
Although the Diocese of Pittsburgh had information regarding alleged criminal actions on the part of Yockey as far back as the year 1986, there was only one document located in their files that was dated January 6, 2014, that illustrated a report to the Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office. The document was dated January 6, 2014. There was no mention of the history of Yockey’ s reported sexual assaults.
Father Yockey Continues Working with Children After Leaving the Ministry
Because none of Yockey’s abuses or assaults were reported to officials, Yockey was able to become a licensed social worker. When he initially began work in the field in 2006, the Veterans Administration called for a reference check on Yockey and the diocese did not disclose the Yockey’s admission to sexually molesting a minor or of allegations against him, according to the grand jury report.
According to the Meadville Tribune, Yockey was also able to obtain employment at Community Counseling Center in 2017, a place in Ohio where adults and children with mental illness and substance abuse problems are treated because no criminal record showed up when Community Counseling did a background check.
Yockey was first named publicly as accused in a priest profile in the 2018 Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report. Upon learning of the past allegations in September 2018, Community Counseling Center terminated the priest immediately. In December 2018, he was named in a child sexual abuse lawsuit. He remains a licensed as a social worker in Ohio and Pennsylvania.
Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of Pittsburgh. 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 Pittsburgh may have legal options, but filing deadlines will apply so do not delay in reaching out to us.