Fr. John Geinzer – Archdiocese of Baltimore

On Behalf of | Jun 29, 2023 | Abuser Profiles, Catholic Church

Fr. John Geinzer

Archdiocese of Baltimore/Pittsburgh

Fr. John Geinzer Horowitz Law

Ordained: 1967

Removed/Restricted: 2018

Assignment History

  • 1968-1973: St. Paul (Butler, PA)
  • 1973-1975: Office of Religious Education, Diocese of Pittsburgh Pastoral Center
  • 1973-1975: Duquesne University
  • 1975-1980: Adult Religious Education, Diocese of Pittsburgh Pastoral Center
  • 1980-1990: Mount St. Mary Seminary (Emmitsburg, MD)
  • 1990-1991: Holy Innocents (Pittsburgh, PA)
  • 1991-1994: Nursing Home, McGuire Memorial Home (New Brighton, PA)
  • 1991-1994: St. Cyril & Methodius (New Brighton, PA)
  • 1994-2000: St. Colman (Turtle Creek, PA)
  • 2000-2007: US Navy, Archdiocese for Military Services (Washington, DC)
  • 2007-2008: St. Barbara (Bridgeville, PA)
  • 2008-2011: St. John the Baptist (Pittsburgh, PA)
  • 2011-2018: Little Sisters of the Poor (Pittsburgh, PA)
  • 2018: Restricted from public ministry/Retired

Summary of Abuse Allegations Against Father John Geinzer

Fr. John Geinzer was ordained a Catholic priest and worked in the Archdiocese of Baltimore and in Pittsburg. In 2019, Fr. Geinzer was listed on the Archdiocese of Baltimore’s Credibly Accused of Sexual Abuse of Minors list. In April 2023, Maryland’s Attorney General released a report alleging 156 Catholic clergy members sexually abused at least 600 children over six decades. The report lists the names of the abusers, including Father Geinzer.

According to media reports, in 1995, the Diocese of Pittsburgh received an allegation from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia in which a man alleged he was fondled by Father John Geinzer in 1980 when he was 13 years old. The information was personally forwarded by the Philadelphia Secretary for Clergy, Msgr. William Lynn, advised that the boys’ family was very reputable and did not wish to make the information public.  The Diocese of Pittsburgh wrote to the man’s family to request additional information, but it would seem from the context of the grand jury report that no additional information was received, and the matter was closed.

In 2009, Geinzer – who was still in active ministry – requested Bishop David Zubik’s endorsement to serve as a chaplain on a cruise ship, which would require the Bishop to attest that Geinzer “enjoys a good reputation and has no problems of a moral nature.”  Geinzer’s request was ultimately denied due to the 1995 allegation.  However, “Geinzer was assured…that the allegation would not affect his current standing in the Diocese because the Diocese deemed it to be an inconclusive allegation.”  Despite the Bishop’s position that Geinzer did not “enjoy a good reputation” and/or had problems of a moral nature that could endanger cruise ship passengers, Geinzer remained in ministry at St. John the Baptist – which included oversight of the parish grammar school.

In 2014, a woman called the Diocese of Pittsburgh concerning Father John A. Geinzer’s behavior around her eight-year-old son and other adolescent boys. She said that Geinzer made comments about how handsome her son was, touched him frequently, and overall seemed too interested in him. Her son said to her that her son did not want Geinzer touching him and was upset by the thought of talking to him. The woman added that she saw Father Geinzer touching a 13-year-old boy and making comments about his clothing. These uncomfortable instances occurred at Little Sisters of the Poor, where the woman and her family visited her parents.

Another memorandum in 2014 detailed a discussion between Father Eckman and Father Geinzer in which Eckman stated that Geinzer was making young boys uncomfortable by touching their backs for too long in public. He did not do this to the girls. Geinzer said he did not realize his conduct made children uncomfortable.  The Chancery told him not to touch minors anymore, and he was sent on his way.  There is no indication that the 1995 allegations were revisited or any additional investigation was done – including contacting the mother of the boy who wrote the 2014 letter.

Even after these reports, according to the grand jury report, the Diocese of Pittsburgh repeatedly and regularly attested that Geinzer had no allegations of misconduct in his past.  These letters, the purpose of which was unclear, were authored as recently as 2016 despite the fact that Bishop Zubik knew otherwise and previously denied requests to make such attestations.

Father Geinzer was not restricted from public ministry until the fall of 2018 when he was first named publicly as accused in a priest profile in the 2018 Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report. Geinzer is believed to be residing in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, area at a retirement home for priests.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Archdiocese of Baltimore in Maryland. If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in Maryland, contact our office today. Our lawyers have decades of experience representing survivors of clergy sexual abuse nationwide. We can help. Contact us at 888-283-9922 or [email protected] to discuss your options today.