Former Tullytown Priest Pleads Guilty, Sentenced To State Prison

(Left) Ex-Father Francis Trauger, 74. Image via Bucks County District Attorney's Office. (Right) St. Michael the Archangel in Tullytown. Photo by Rick Rickman.

A former priest who served at St. Michael the Archangel in Tullytown has plead guilty to sexually abusing two altar boys.

Ex-priest Francis Trauger abused both boys during his 10 years in Tullytown. He is now a registered sex offender, possibly for the rest of his life.

One victim suffered in the mid-1990s and the other in the early 2000s. Both victims were under the age of 13 when the abuse occurred.

“After evading justice for decades, this defendant is headed today to state prison for molesting two boys decades ago,” said District Attorney Matthew Weintraub. “I hope the message to any other victims out there is clear: It is almost never too late to come forward to speak your truth.”

Trauger submitted a written apology to the court for his actions, but did not read it aloud. His defense counsel informed the court “he was so moved by the painful statements of his victims that he felt he could not speak,” according to the DA’s Office.

Bucks DA Matt Weintraub announces allegations against Francis Trauger. Photo by Rick Rickman.

Judge Jeffrey Finley was not as moved by Trauger’s apology.

“Any good you did, you tore it apart. You destroyed it,” said Finley.

Trauger will spend between 18 and 36 months in state prison for his actions. He will then serve seven years probation.

The Bucks County District Attorney’s Office brought charges against Trauger, 74, last September. Bucks DA Matt Weintraub stated at the time his office had recently heard from two accusers.

The DA’s Office notes “a third potential victim was identified, but circumstances prevented the filing of charges.” This person, a student, was allegedly abused also in the mid-1990s.

One additional person who has gone public is Michael McDonnell, now a full grown man. McDonnell was an altar boy when Trauger resided at St. Titus Parish in East Norriton Township in 1981.

“You robbed a lot of life out of a good kid,” said McDonnell of Trauger in September 2019 after Weintraub announced charges. “I was a good kid. And I’m going to watch you be brought to justice now.”

The allegations against Trauger are not new. The parents of two alleged victims reported their sons’ stories to another pastor at St. Titus in 1981.

However, these accusations were never publicly available until the Philadelphia Grand Jury Report was released in 2005. Due to the statute of limitations, their accounts may never be brought to court and proven.

The 2005 Philadelphia Grand Jury Report, available here, includes graphic and disturbing details of alleged abuse against Trauger. An entire section is dedicated to Trauger and begins on page 303.

“Father Frank,” as the Tullytown congregation knew him, did not face any official consequences for his actions until this plea deal. After the alleged victims’ reported their traumatizing experiences, the Church transferred Trauger to a different community to serve as pastor.

In the following years, the Church moved him five more times.

The full announcement of Trauger’s plea deal is available below: