Catholic Priest

Ronald Yarrosh

Ordained: 1974
Diocese: Diocese of Allentown

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

On April 22, 2004, Diocesan documents recorded that the Pennsylvania State Police searched the rooms of Father Ronald Yarrosh and found a “tremendous amount” of child pornography. On April 29, 2004, Yarrosh was removed from priestly ministry and entered St. John Vianney Hospital for evaluation and treatment.

On May 12, 2004, the Pennsylvania State Police filed charges against Yarrosh, specifically, 110 counts of sexual abuse of children after discovering hundreds of child pornography photos, books, magazines, videos, and DVD’s in his possession.   As law enforcement began its prosecution, Diocesan Support Services conducted an audit and determined that Yarrosh embezzled approximately $23,000.00 from the parish.  Charges were filed related to this theft.

On April 27, 2005, Yarrosh entered a plea of guilty to charges of theft and possession of child pornography.  Yarrosh was sentenced pursuant to a negotiated plea agreement to imprisonment for three to 23 months, $250.00 in fines, and restitution to the parish.

On May 3, 2005, Yarrosh was discharged from St. John Vianney Hospital and took residence at St. Francis Villa, Orwigsburg. Yarrosh was to begin his term of incarceration later that year. However, on July 18, 2005, the Diocese was made aware that Yarrosh was leaving his residence at St. Francis Villa.

On July 19, 2005, a letter was written to Yarrosh informing him that he was to remain at the residence, under supervision, until he was ordered to report to prison. Yarrosh subsequently met with the Secretary of Clergy and informed him that he could not remain at the Villa and would be leaving.  On July 21, 2005, Yarrosh left St. Francis Villa and moved into a motel. Yarrosh continued in residence at the motel until August 8, 2005, at which time he was incarcerated in Schuylkill County Prison in Pottsville. Upon his release on November 31, 2005, Yarrosh registered with the Pennsylvania State Police as a sexual offender.

Upon his release from prison, Yarrosh was still a priest.  On December 6, 2005, Yarrosh was released from prison as a convicted and registered sex offender.  The Diocese granted him residence at St. Francis Villa in Orwigsburg. The Diocese’s own designation of Yarrosh noted he was a “moderate to high risk to again use pornography and/or consort with prostitutes.”

In November 2006, it was discovered that Father Yarrosh had taken trips to New York City with a seven-year-old child. Yarrosh was also found to be in possession of pornography in violation of his court supervision. The Schuylkill County Court of Common Pleas subsequently sentenced Yarrosh to four to ten years in state prison for violating the terms of his supervision. Finally, in June 2007, the Diocese dismissed Yarrosh from the priesthood.

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.