Diocese: Diocese of Allentown
From the Report I of the 40th Statewide Investigating Grand Jury for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania:
Held in the secret archives of the Diocese of Allentown was a folder titled by a victim’s name. Inside the folder was information describing the sexual abuse of a minor that occurred in 1948. The abuser was Father Gerald Royer. At the time of the abuse in 1948, the Diocese of Allentown did not exist and the location was under the control of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.
In January 2003, the victim, then in his sixties, made a report of sexual abuse to the Diocese against Royer. Because Royer was under the authority of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia at the time of the sexual abuse, the Diocese referred this victim to Monsignor William Lynn, Vicar for Clergy of the Archdiocese. The Diocese of Allentown began paying for counseling then referred the costs to the Archdiocese of Philadelphia in June 2003.
In 2009, this victim contacted the Diocese again to discuss his sexual abuse. He brought his therapist along. While in Saint’s Simon and Jude church, he saw a chair in which he was repeatedly sexually abused by Royer.
On April 18, 2018, now an 83-year-old man, the victim testified before the Fortieth Statewide Investigating Grand Jury. He disclosed that the abuse that occurred in 1948 still haunts him to this day. The victim attended Saint’s Simon and Jude in Bethlehem. He was a fatherless, 12-year-old boy. His mother was happy that a priest took interest in her son. Royer would kiss the victim and the kissing progressed to molestation. Royer would abuse the child behind the airport in Allentown, in his home, and in the rectory. Royer would have the child sit in a green chair located near a closet and the rectory’s safe. Royer would fondle the victim’s genitals. The child told a friend who did not believe him. During one abuse, the friend hid in the closet and watched Royer molest the victim. The child who witnessed the abuse could not fathom what had just occurred.
The victim testified that, after the 2002 Boston, Massachusetts, scandal broken by the Boston Globe, he found the strength to finally disclose his abuse to the Catholic church. During a meeting with a priest in the Diocese, the priest acknowledged that Royer was a “bad actor,” stating that the priest had counseled Royer. The victim never told his wife why he could not hug or kiss his own children, who were boys. He was unable to be affectionate with his grandchildren. To this day, he cannot shake hands with men. He cannot be seen by male doctors or dentists. His therapist had to be a female.
The victim told the Grand Jury that he was in the Army, fought in Korea, and was stationed on Okinawa in the 1950’s. However, every day of this victim’s life has been tormented by what Royer did to him as a child in 1948.
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.