Fr. William McCandless – Archdiocese of Philadelphia

| Dec 7, 2020 | Abuser Profiles, Catholic Church

Father William McCandless

Archdiocese of Philadelphia (Oblates)

Ordained: 1994

Assignment History:

  • 2005-2010: Salesianum High School (Wilmington, DE)
  • 2010-2017: Parochial Vicar, Paroisse Saint Charles (Monaco)
  • 2017:           Wellness Center counselor at De Sales University (Center Valley, PA)
  • 2018-2020: Northeast Catholic High School (Philadelphia, PA)

Summary of Allegations Against Father William McCandless:

Father William McCandless was ordained a priest of the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales in 1994 and served in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. He was a U.S. Naval Chaplain and former principal of a Catholic all-boys high school in Wilmington. According to media reports, in December 2020, McCandless was indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of collecting thousands of images of child pornography while serving overseas and bringing them with him to the United States. He was charged with three counts of child pornography, with possession of child pornography for importation into the US, transporting child pornography in interstate and foreign commerce, and attempting to access with intent to view child pornography.

According to charging documents, McCandless amassed a collection of thousands of images of child pornography, including some involving torture, while he was working overseas in Monaco. He brought them back to the United States when he returned in January 2017. During the investigation, records show that he also conducted internet searches for child pornography and things like how to get “off the grid, “how-to disappear,” and “how to erase items from the cloud.”  A church volunteer in Monaco found thousands of images of child pornography on a church computer. The discovery came after McCandless left Europe for Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania authorities later found that McCandless attempted thousands of times to access child pornography websites on his iPhone.

McCandless initially pleaded not guilty to the counts during an initial court appearance in Philadelphia. If convicted, he faces as many as 60 years in prison. Fr. McCandless was ordered to be placed on home incarceration with electronic monitoring and to surrender his passport because he has frequently traveled overseas.

The investigation into Fr. McCandless has been going on for more than three years, which isn’t his first allegation. In October 2010, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) called for his suspension when his name surfaced in court proceedings after McCandless allegedly admitted to the abuse of a 14-year-old French boy during a church camp.

McCandless later pleaded guilty to attempting to access child pornography from his phone. The federal charges of possessing child pornography and importing it to the United States were withdrawn as part of a plea agreement. On January 23, 2023, William McCandless was sentenced  in federal court to 37 months in prison followed by 15 years of supervised release.  After McCandless is released, he will live under the supervision of the Wilmington-based Oblates of St. Francis DeSales and permanently placed on a sex offender registry.

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.