Notification Regarding Paulist Fr. Francis Sweeney

December 6, 2018

It is with deep regret that we advise those we serve in our ministries, and the public, of a new accusation of sexual misconduct with a minor male by Rev. Francis “Frank” Sweeney, C.S.P. (1934 – 2013).

The accusation was made recently.  It was made anonymously.  The person making the accusation stated the alleged abuse took place in the Archdiocese of Baltimore.

Two other credible accusations of sexual abuse of underage males by Fr. Sweeney were made public in 1993, after which Fr. Sweeney was removed from ministry.

Those two cases also stem from Fr. Sweeney’s years of service at the University of Maryland Base Community in Relay, MD, in the Archdiocese of Baltimore, which was January, 1972, to September, 1976, and September, 1982, to August, 1993.

Fr. Sweeney was ordained a priest on May 1, 1961.  He also served as priest in New York City; Boston; Minneapolis; Los Angeles; Washington, D.C.; Oak Ridge, N.J.; Columbus, OH; and Santa Barbara, CA.

After being barred from ministry, he resided in Scarsdale, NY; Boston; and New York City.

In March, 2004, Paulist Fr. John Duffy, then president of the Paulist Fathers, discussed the credible accusations against Fr. Sweeney in a public meeting held at the Paulist Center in Boston.

Fr. Sweeney died on August 30, 2013.

We are deeply sorry for the pain suffered by the victims and survivors of abuse due to actions of some members of our missionary society.

The Paulist Fathers are committed to protecting children and helping to heal victims of abuse. We follow safety protocols issued by Praesidium, Inc., a national organization that works with religious and other institutions to establish and maintain rigorous standards for protecting children and vulnerable adults.

We are in the process of seeking accreditation by the firm.

Any person who has further allegations or concerns about Fr. Sweeney, or any Paulist Father, is asked to contact Rev. John Behnke, C.S.P., vice president and safety officer of the Paulist Fathers, at (212) 757-8072 or via email at  

At this time, we are in prayer for all victims and survivors of sexual abuse by clergy, especially minors, that they may receive healing, justice, and peace.