LAWSUIT: Diocese of Scranton Priest Accused of Child Sexual Abuse

On Behalf of | Jan 28, 2021 | Abuser Profiles, Catholic Church

On January 28, 2021, Horowitz Law filed a clergy sexual abuse lawsuit against the Diocese of Scranton in Lackawanna County. The suit. filed by attorneys Adam Horowitz and Jessica Arbour, alleges Father Joseph Meighan sexually abused the now 30-year-old victim for a period of years beginning in 1995  was the victim was five years old. The abuse continued until Father 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.

The suit is among more than two dozen lawsuits filed in Lackawanna County Court that allege the diocese knew priests were sexually abusing children. Rather than take steps to protect them, the Diocese of Scranton transferred the priests to other parishes to avoid liability, the suits claim.

“He really was a revered and well-trusted priest in my client’s family, and unfortunately the Diocese of Scranton knew that he was a predator more than 20 years before the abuse actually started,” said attorney Jessica Arbour.

This is not Meighan’s first allegation. Fr. Meighan was among the 301 priests identified in the 2018 Grand Jury Report that named clergy members that faced allegations of sexual misconduct. That report revealed officials first learned Meighan was abusing children in 1970, when four boys at St. Boniface Church in Wilkes-Barre reported he fondled them. He was ordered to undergo treatment, but then returned to service. The Grand Jury Report also stated that there was a second set of allegations that came up in 1990 from a woman alleging that she had seen Meighan undressing her teenage son. At least three more complaints were made in 2003, 2007 and 2008 against Meighan, the report states.

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 now have legal options to recover damages.  Contact us at (954) 641-2100 or [email protected] today.