It took 38 years for the long-awaited arrest of former priest Francis X. Trauger. This morning, the Bucks County DA’s office ordered his arrest and charged him with indecent assault and corruption of minors. The allegations involve two altar boys at St. Michael the Archangel and date from the 1990s to the early 2000s.
However, previous allegations against Trauger date back to 1981. That’s when the Archdiocese first learned of his predatory ways. Trauger wasn’t removed from ministry until 2003 in the wake of that year’s grand jury report investigating child sex abuse in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.
In 1994, Archdiocesan administrators added Trauger’s name to a list of priests suspected of sexually abusing children. At the direction of Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, the list was shredded. Instead of protecting children, the Archdiocese protected itself and the possible predator priests. The children at St Michael’s, where Trauger was assigned as pastor from 1993 to 2003, may have paid the price.
The Archdiocese will release some type of self-congratulatory statement to the press that will announce that they are cooperating with authorities on the Trauger case. What they won’t acknowledge is that if they had done the right thing in the 1980’s, or in 1994, the alleged crimes at St. Michael’s would never have occurred.
Someday, all involved will answer for that life-shattering and immoral decision. But there won’t be an Archdiocesan attorney next to them when they stand before God.