Fr. William McCandless may have more victims in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, survivors’ attorneys say
(Philadelphia, PA) – Fr. William McCandless, a priest and former advisor to Monaco Royalty recently charged with child pornography, may have perpetrated child sexual abuse against child victims across New Jersey and Pennsylvania, according to survivors’ attorneys. Court documents say that the images included child sexual abuse and torture.
“McCandless’ arrest is far more than the result of ‘palace intrigue,’ as Catholic leadership wants the public to believe,” said attorney Mike Reck of Jeff Anderson & Associates. “His pattern of alleged sexual misconduct surfaced years ago. The fact that they would now trivialize the crimes of trafficking in child sex abuse images just shows that Church officials still refuse to take seriously these horrific sex crimes against children.”
In 2010, McCandless was named in a deposition taken in a sexual abuse case in Delaware. In it, a survivor and former priest-in-training swore under oath that McCandless had admitted to sexually abusing a French-speaking minor. Around the time of the deposition, McCandless was transferred to Monaco.
“It is a troubling thought that the Oblates of St. Francis De Sales—McCandless’ supervisors—knew ten years ago that McCandless had allegedly admitted to abusing at least one child. Instead of removing him, reaching out to the schools and churches where he worked with children, and notifying the police, the Oblates hid him in Europe in the hopes of running out the statute of limitations clock for survivors,” said Reck. “Fortunately, in states like New Jersey and other places, new laws give survivors the right to come forward and speak the truth in a court of law.”
McCandless was recently a top advisor to Monaco’s Princess Charlene, wife of current monarch Prince Albert. After leaving the Principality of Monaco under circumstances that cannot be confirmed, the cleric was sent back to Pennsylvania where he recently worked at DeSales University (Center Valley) and for the Order of the Oblates of St. Francis De Sales (Wilmington, DE). McCandless was also a principal at Wilmington’s Salesianum High School.
“We applaud the hard work of the U.S. Attorney’s office to robustly investigate McCandless and to demand answers as to why McCandless was moved internationally to evade prosecution,” said Reck. “We also hope that more survivors feel brave enough to break their silence and come forward to demand full accountability.”
Anyone with information about McCandless’ alleged crimes regarding child pornography should contact the US Attorney’s Office.