Catholic Priest

John T. Sweeney

Ordained: 1970
Diocese: Diocese of Greensburg

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

Father John Sweeney was the Pastor of St. Margaret Mary in Lower Burrell for approximately twelve years spanning from 1985 to 1998. St. Margaret Mary Catholic School, grades kindergarten through eighth, was associated with this parish.

In August of 2016, the Lower Burrell Police Department received information through child services (ChildLine) of an anonymous report of child sexual abuse against Sweeney. On September 6, 2016, separate from that anonymous report, a United States Marshal made contact with the Lower Burrell Police Department and informed them that his brother had confided to him that he had been sexually molested by Sweeney when he was a fourth grade student at St. Margaret Mary. The brother of the United States Marshall and the subject of the ChildLine report were the same individual.

According to the victim, who was 35 years old at the time of the investigation, he was 10 years old when the assault occurred. He stated that while in fourth grade at St. Margaret Mary, he had been sent to the principal (now deceased) because of his misbehavior.  He was then sent to see Sweeney. According to the victim, Sweeney threatened to punish him and told him he would not do so if the victim performed oral sex on him, which he did.

Testimony regarding Sweeney’s sexual assault was taken before this Grand Jury and, on July 11, 2017, we issued Presentment No. 16 wherein it was recommended that criminal charges be filed against Sweeney for violations of the Crimes Code of Pennsylvania. Sweeney was thereafter arrested and charged with involuntary deviate sexual intercourse. He is presently awaiting trial in the Westmoreland County Court of Common Pleas.

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.