Jose A. Rosa

Pennsylvania Mennonite minister and church planter charged for abusing children

In 2009, Jose “Joe” Rosa (1957–2009) was charged with five counts of indecent assault, two counts of recklessly endangering the welfare of children, and four counts of corruption of minors.

In May 2009, a Lancaster Mennonite Conference leader notified state police of alleged sexual misconduct by Rosa, co-pastor of Congregación Menonita Shalom, New Columbia, Pennsylvania. The church leader had received a letter from a young man reporting that Rosa had molested him. The young man was a member of Rosa’s church before emigrating to Puerto Rico.

Police interviewed two other boys, both aged 14, who reported sexual abuse by Rosa in his home and at the church beginning in 2005 when they stayed in Rosa’s home temporarily. They described kissing on the lips, grabbing buttocks, touching genitals, and pressure to sleep in Rosa’s bed. One boy, who was nine years old when the abuse began, said it ended in early 2009 when the boy’s family left the church. The other boy said Rosa molested him over two years starting when he was ten years old.

The same night the police received the allegation, Rosa’s wife reported her husband missing. Three weeks later, Rosa was still missing and police issued an arrest warrant. In April 2010, Rosa’s body was found in a neighboring township. A coroner determined he died by suicide.

Prior to his move to New Columbia in 2002, Rosa was a pastor in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. At the time of his disappearance, he was in the process of leaving Congregacion Menonita Shalom to oversee two new congregations within the conference. He was also serving as president of the Milton Ministerium, a group of area ministers sponsoring community events.

Church-related positions

  • Pastor in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, prior to 2002
  • Co-pastor of Congregación Menonita Shalom, New Columbia, Pennsylvania, 2002–2009
  • Founder of two additional congregations within Lancaster Mennonite Conference
  • President of Milton Ministerium


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