March 29, 2023

UNHOLY: Sex abuse allegations leveled at Donald Trump’s Catholic advisor

UNHOLY: Sex abuse allegations leveled at Donald Trump's Catholic advisor

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Yet another individual connected to Donald Trump is being hit with allegations of sexual abuse.

Theocrats of a feather may flock together, but this former priest’s extremism and politicking has already earned him a defrocking, and now he’s accused of grooming and of sexual crimes against at least four women.

Frank Pavone worked with Trump’s campaigns in both 2016 and 2020 and continues to be an outspoken advocate for the former president, even buying into, and promoting, lies about the 2020 election.

It’s this, along with Pavone’s other passion — anti-choice advocacy — that resulted in his removal from the priesthood, after repeated warnings to pull himself back from secular politics.

Now, only a few short months after being laicized, Pavone is the subject of allegations from at least four women, who say that he abused his position of power.

One former intern says that he would put his hand on her lower back, such that it was too much on her rear for comfort, and another young employee of Priests for Life describes him rubbing her back and unfastening her bra.

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In another incident, the latter accuser says that Pavone entered her hotel room and describes not remembering clearly what followed, or how he left, but that he tried to get her to change “into something more comfortable” and that she kept trying to get him to leave so she could go to bed.

Her reports to Priests for Life and Catholic authorities netted no apparent results. According to the Daily Beast:

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“Soon after, the woman says, she reported Pavone’s behavior to Father Peter West, then Priests for Life’s associate director, but no action was taken…After making her report to the archdiocese, the woman told the outlet she was never made aware of any details of an investigation.”

Multiple women describe writing off Pavone’s advances as social awkwardness, or being “kind of weird,” and one complainant — the aforementioned woman who described Pavone non-consensually touching her rear — says that when her father called Priests for Life’s executive director, Angelo DeStefano, to complain about her treatment, he was similarly told that his daughter just didn’t “understand” and that Pavone was just being “very affectionate.”

This all becomes public following Pavone’s December defrocking.

He is known for extreme statements about abortion, such as that an abortion is never necessary to save a woman’s life, and for repeating false political claims about abortion, including that Democrats support abortion even during delivery of a healthy newborn, as you’ll see in a tweet below, where he misrepresents a legislator saying that her bill doesn’t directly address such an unrealistic scenario as her expressing support for it.

At last, after his diocese had repeatedly warned him about public political statements, the Washington Post reports that a letter from Pope Francis’s representative to the U.S. addressed his “blasphemous communications on social media, and of persistent disobedience of the lawful instructions of his diocesan bishop.”

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