Catholic Priest

Francis Joseph McNelis

Ordained: 1965
Diocese: Diocese of Allentown

From the Report I of the 40th Statewide Investigating Grand Jury for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania:

In December 1992, a known victim reported that, between 1966 and 1968, Father Francis McNelis sexually abused him when he was between the ages of 10 and 13. McNelis masturbated the victim after having him lay on his back on McNelis’ bed in the rectory. McNelis eventually forced the victim to masturbate McNelis.  McNelis also told the victim he wanted to have anal sex with him.  According to the victim, McNelis masturbated him on five or six occasions but anal sex did not occur.  Records provided by the Diocese show McNelis was sent to Jemez Springs for “spiritual and professional care.”   After his stay at Jemez Springs, the Diocese assigned McNelis to St. Ignatius Loyola as an Associate Pastor. On McNelis’ assignment listing, which was provided by the Diocese, and next to his St. Ignatius assignment in parenthesis is a notation, “Not for Publication.” Despite repeated requests by McNelis to be reassigned, McNelis remained at St. Ignatius until he retired in 2002.

In 2004, a second victim came forward and reported sexual abuse by McNelis.  After several years of grooming by McNelis, in 1968, when the second victim was approximately 16, McNelis forced the second victim to submit to McNelis performing fellatio on him.  Soon after this incident, a second incident of abuse occurred in the rectory of St. Joseph, where again McNelis forcibly performed oral sex on the second victim.

Additional information regarding the widespread sexual abuse of children within the Catholic Dioceses of Pennsylvania and the systemic cover up by senior church officials is compiled in the Pennsylvania Diocese Victim’s Report published by the Pennsylvania Attorney General following a two-year grand jury investigation.  A complete copy of the Report is available on the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s website.