Defrocked Bucks County priest Francis “Frank” Trauger has been charged with sexually abusing at least two altar boys during the decade he spent as a priest at St. Michael the Archangel Church in Levittown. The 74-year-old priest was at the church in the 1990s and 2000s.
According to a criminal complaint, the Bucks County District Attorney’s office began investigating allegations against Trauger after receiving information from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia in August of 2018.
Investigators spoke with the first victim earlier in 2019. He told them that Trauger sexually assaulted him multiple times while he was a middle school student around the year 2000. According to the victim, Trauger touched his genitals and buttocks during a robing process before Mass.
The second victim told investigators of similar allegations, saying that Trauger also touched him inappropriately while he was putting on his robe behind the church’s altar before Mass. This alleged incident happened around 1996, when the victim was 12 years old.
Trauger was arraigned on the morning of Tuesday, September 3, on four counts of indecent assault on minors and two counts of corruption of minors. He was released on unsecured bail.
Trauger’s name has been mentioned in connection with alleged sexual abuse long before this current investigation. In 2003, the archdiocese removed him from St. Michael the Archangel. His name was mentioned several times in a 2005 Philadelphia Grand Jury Report regarding sex abuse in the Catholic Church. In that report, there were multiple sexual accusations against Trauger. He was transferred to other parishes with schools attached.
Additionally, Trauger was named in civil lawsuits filed in 2012, which alleged that the Archdiocese of Philadelphia had covered up allegations of child sex abuse in their churches.
Trauger had been a priest since the early 1970s. Prior to his time at St. Michael, he served at several other churches and schools in Philadelphia, Delaware, and Montgomery counties. He served at St. Michael from 1993 to 2003, when he was placed on administrative leave after being accused of sexually abusing a minor.
The DA’s office has publicly announced that they believe there could be other victims and has urged others to come forward. Anyone with information related to his case is encouraged to contact Tullytown Police Sgt. Phil Kulan at 215-945-0999, ext. 225 or Bucks County Detective Lt. David Kemmerer at 215-348-6354.
Hi, I’m attorney Brian Kent. Our team of former sex crimes prosecutors specialized in helping survivors of sexual abuse find justice through civil lawsuits. If you or someone you love is a survivor of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church or another religious organization, here is some general information regarding your legal options for justice:
Clergy sex abuse has long been a widespread problem in Catholic churches across the United States. Many survivors of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church have begun coming forward and taking legal action. If you or someone you love is a survivor of sexual abuse by a Catholic priest, it’s important to be aware of your legal rights.
In Pennsylvania, survivors currently have up until their 30th birthday to file a civil priest sex abuse lawsuit. However, this could potentially change in the near future, as there are currently bills on the table which would extend the civil window until the victim’s 55th birthday and another which would create a two-year retroactive window where victims could sue their abusers, regardless of when the abuse occurred.
Additionally, some victims have attempted to circumvent the currently narrow statute of limitations by filing fraud lawsuits against Catholic dioceses for allegedly failing to remove sexual predators from their churches and allowing these predators to continue abusing victims.
Each clergy sex abuse case has unique circumstances. If you or a loved one is a survivor of sex abuse in a religious organization, we advise discussing your case with an experienced sex abuse survivors attorney to learn more about your legal options.