Catholic Priest

Joseph F. Houston

Diocese: Diocese of Scranton

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

On June 29, 1971, Father George Jeffrey reported to Bishop J. Carroll McCormick that Father Joseph F. Houston and a minor female were observed going into a motel room late at night on multiple occasions.  They had also been seen together in public on a regular basis.

On May 4, 2002, Bishop James C. Timlin received a letter from this female victim, advising that Houston had taken advantage of her from the age of 14 to the age of 17. She asked that the incident not be brought to the attention of law enforcement. On May 11, 2002, Houston sent a letter to her, apologizing for the pain that he caused her by his inexcusable behavior.

On June 28, 2002, Houston was removed from his priestly duties by the Diocese. On July 06, 2004, Pope John Paul II granted Houston dispensation.

On May 6, 2016, the Diocese sent a certified letter to each of the District Attorney’s Offices within the Diocese.  The letter included a list that contained the names of all priests against whom complaints of sexual abuse of minors had been made. Houston’s name was on the list along with the name of the victim.

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.