Catholic Priest

John M. Bauer

Ordained: 1973
Diocese: Diocese of Pittsburgh

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

Documents subpoenaed from the Diocese of Pittsburgh revealed that an allegation of sexual abuse by Father John Bauer first surfaced when it was included in another complaint that was lodged against Father Michael Romero.

A memorandum to the file dated October 13, 2013 from Rita Flaherty, Diocesan Assistance Coordinator, indicated that, during a telephone conversation with the male, he told her that Romero and Bauer would provide him alcohol and encourage him to drink it. He stated that he has suffered with alcoholism for years while he was trying to suppress the memories of sexual abuse as a minor child.  He stated that he attributes the majority of his problems with alcohol to his early exposure to alcohol by Romero and Bauer.

This memorandum also stated that Romero and Bauer would engage him and the other young boys in conversation about masturbation a lot. The male stated that he remembers Bauer taking him to a wrestling tournament on Columbus, Ohio along with two other students. They were all drinking alcohol as they drove.

The victim reported that Bauer would “wrestle” with him but maintained that there was no genital contact.  He found this to be strange that Bauer would want to wrestle with all the boys since he was not a wrestling coach or was not really involved in the wrestling program.

The victim asked for assistance with counseling to help him deal with his repressed issues of sexual abuse. Flaherty told him that she would contact her counterpart in Florida, where the victim was living, and would forward some referral information to him. Flaherty also asked him to make a written statement and told him that she would be obligated to share this information with the Washington County District Attorney’s Office.

On October 17, 2013, Flaherty sent a follow up e-mail to the victim, providing him with contact information for a local counselor. She also asked him to make a written statement outlining his allegations because the Diocese wanted want to follow up with Bauer and would like to have the written statement to discuss with him.

In a memorandum to the file dated October 17, 2013, Flaherty outlined a meeting that she, Bishop William Waltersheild, Father Mark Eckman had with Bauer to address the allegations.  Bauer stated that he recalled the victim and that he remembered him as one of the young boys who would work out in the “wrestling room.” Bauer said he remembered wrestling with some of the boys on occasion in the “wrestling room.”  Bauer stated he would often “join them” since he enjoyed doing a good workout.

Bauer was specifically asked about the trip when he took three young boys to Columbus, Ohio and provided them alcohol.  Bauer initially denied taking this trip but then then recalled this trip did occur.  Bauer denied providing the boys alcohol in their car ride and suggested that maybe they had their own alcohol that they were drinking but he was unaware of that happening. Bauer also suggested that the victim may have mistaken him for the deceased Romero who was also assigned to the parish at the same time.  Bauer stated that some of the boys would ask him to provide them alcohol but that he never did.

The victim’s allegation was forwarded to the Washington County District Attorney’s office on August 5, 2014.

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.