A Lansdale priest arrested Jan. 17 and charged with indecent assault is accused of grabbing a man’s genitals in the locker room of the North Penn YMCA in December, Lansdale police said the afternoon of Jan. 18.
said that an investigation into John H. Roebuck, 64 — a parochial vicar
at St. Stanislaus Roman Catholic Church since last July — began on Dec.
16 after the alleged victim in the case, an adult male, reported to
police a locker room incident that purportedly took place around 7 p.m.
The victim said that he met an older male, later
identified as Roebuck, in the YMCA sauna, where the pair engaged in a
brief conversation, according to police.
Shortly after that,
police said, the victim was using a sink in the locker room when he saw
Roebuck standing behind him, and as he began to walk away from the sink,
Roebuck extended his hand to say goodbye. As they were shaking hands,
the man said he felt Roebuck’s other hands grabbing his genitals, police
After the alleged incident, the man went to YMCA employees
and reported what happened, at which point a staff member confronted
Roebuck, who was still in the building, and questioned him about the
allegations — Roebuck denied that anything had happened, police said.
detectives were able to identify Roebuck as the suspect in the incident
with the help of YMCA administrative staff, according to police, who
hailed the organization’s “exceptional cooperation,” and on Dec. 19,
detectives interviewed Roebuck at Lansdale police headquarters.
On Jan. 13, an arrest warrant for Roebuck was issued, and he turned himself in to Lansdale police Jan. 17.
who resides on the first block of Lansdale Avenue, was arraigned before
District Judge Albert Augustine of Skippack on charges of misdemeanor
indecent assault without consent and summary harassment.
Augustine set bail at $50,000 unsecured, and Roebuck is due back in the judge’s courtroom on Jan. 23 for a preliminary hearing.
Jan. 17, after Roebuck’s arrest, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia issued
a statement that read, in part, “The alleged conduct leading to his
arrest did not involve a minor,” adding that the allegations are “deeply
Archdiocese spokesman Kenneth Gavin said Roebuck has
been placed on administrative leave, meaning he is removed from all
duties within the archdiocese, and that the archdiocese is “cooperating
fully with the police investigation.”
According to CatholicPhilly.com,
a website affiliated with the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, Archbishop
Charles J. Chaput assigned Roebuck to St. Stanislaus from his previous
position as a parochial vicar at St. Thomas the Apostle in Glen Mills
effective July 16, 2013.
A profile of Roebuck published in the
August 2013 edition of the Saint Stanislaus newsletter NewStan notes
that he once taught at Lansdale Catholic High School.