Sunday, February 02, 2014

Priest at St. Stanislaus Church in Lansdale charged with indecent assault 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.

Police 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. Dec. 15.
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 said.

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.

Lansdale 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.

Roebuck, 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.

On 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 troubling.”

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, 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.

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