In April 1992 Adam S. Tannous was charged with 4,288 counts of child sexual assault, including 700 rape counts against one minor at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Whitehall, Pennsylvania.
Ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Frank W. Sterrett on June 15, 1957, Tannous was curate of Christ Episcopal Church in Reading, Pennsylvania before serving as rector of Calvary Episcopal Church, Wilkes-Barre from 1959 to 1966 and rector of St. George’s Episcopal Church in Hellertown, Pennsylvania from December 1966 to March 1970.
He was removed from the priesthood in 1970 by Bishop Frederick Warnecke. He was arrested in August 1972 for sexual assault of a 15 year old boy and later hired as full-time sexton and youth group director at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church by its rector the Rev. Joseph Falzone. Tannous pleaded guilty in 1992 to charges of assault and rape by seven boys; five others were unwilling to testify, and one was incapacitated by a suicide attempt.
Many of the rapes occurred at the church itself.
Episcopal Diocese of Bethlehem Bishop Mark Dyer met with and apologized to the victims.
Tannous died in Allentown General Hospital on October 23, 2000 after serving eight years of his sentence. Rector Joseph Falzone was never disciplined for hiring the defrocked Tannous, and Falzone retired from St. Stephen’s Church, Whitehall in 2000. He was rector emeritus until his death in 2020.