Catholic Priest

Francis Siler

Ordained: 1963
Diocese: Diocese of Pittsburgh

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

A review of the Diocesan records pertaining to Father Francis Siler revealed a reference made in a St. Bernadine Clinic report that “sexual problems with adolescents” had occurred in 1972 which caused Bishop Leonard to change Siler’s assignment.  In 1974, Leonard wrote in a letter to the House of Affirmation that “in the last three years the problem arose about which I spoke to you in a phone conversation.

In a 1985 memorandum written to Bishop Bevilacqua, Father Campbell recounted that:

“You may recall from our conversation that Frank [Siler] made a pass at a young boy whose father is a policeman.  The irate father was about to take the matter to court. It was this that necessitated our quick removal of Father Siler from the post.”

In 1994, an adult male came to see Siler in order to confront him about molesting him as a child.  After being confronted by the man, Siler required hospitalization at St. Francis for suicidal feelings. Thereafter, he was sent to St. Luke Institute Continuing Care Workshop.

During a workshop held in May, 1994, St. Luke’s expressed concern that Siler was engaging in parish ministry.  The concern was that because he had a history of sexual behavior with minors, and since he had been experiencing relapse behavior around sexual issues, there was some concern about the possibility of his behavior with minors recurring. It was suggested that Siler avoid all contact and ministry with minors.

In 1995, an adult male reported to the Diocese of Pittsburgh that Siler fondled him on several occasions when he was an altar boy at St. Catherine church and in the second or third grade.  Siler denied the allegations. Some of the dates provided by the male did not correspond to Siler’s age or assignment at the time, however, Siler was placed in restricted ministry.

In December 2002, another allegation of sexual abuse was made against Siler. An adult male reported that Siler had touched him inappropriately when he was a child. This occurred in a church in Beaver County between 1972 and 1973.  The male demanded answers from the Diocese as to what happened with Siler and why he was “protected.”

In November 2011, the Diocese received a report of sexual abuse by Siler that occurred between 1972 and 1974 at a Beaver County church. An adult male reported that Siler had groped and fondled him through his clothes when he was just a child.  He also reported that a Father Hoehl tried to “make some moves on him” but he was bigger that Hoehl and was able to protect himself.

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.