Catholic Priest

John A. Piatkowski

Ordained: < 1940
Diocese: Diocese of Erie

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

In a letter dated March 16, 1955 and addressed to the Bishop of Erie, a victim reported abuse by Father John A. Piatkowski.  He advised that at the age of 12, he became an altar boy. Growing up, he was taught by his parents and the Catechism that priests were Christ’s representative and would not do anything wrong.

During his time as an altar boy, Piatkowski began to kiss the victim and tell him that he loved him.  He took the victim for rides and to the movies.  It was during this time that Piatkowski would play with the victim’s penis until he had an orgasm.  On numerous other occasions, Piatkowski committed similar abuse on the victim in the church basement and in the parish house where Piatkowski lived.  The victim related that while he felt that the entire situation did not seem right, he was afraid to tell his parents for fear that they would not have believed him.

The Grand Jury reviewed a letter dated October 29, 1959 authored by “A married and devout Catholic” that was addressed to the Archbishop of Erie, Reverend John Mark Gannon. The letter indicated that the writer was requesting on behalf of the parish in Sykesville that the parish be assigned a new priest. The letter stated that Piatkowski had been molesting little boys, and that the boys were afraid to talk.  The letter alleged that Piatkowski made nervous wrecks out of the children and that they were afraid of him.  It is unknown to the Grand Jury if this incident was ever referred to law enforcement by the Diocese.

In a report authored by Bishop Donald W. Troutman, he indicated that on December 19, 2008, he met with a victim and his wife at the St. Catherine rectory in DuBois. The victim reported that Piatkowski repeatedly sexually abused him when he was approximately seven or eight years old. The sexual abuse took place in the 1940’s in a small parish in Tyler. Troutman referred the victim to counseling and reported the matter to Erie County District Attorney’s Office on January 5, 2009.

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.