New Allegation Against Priest
Live-in Lover in B'klyn, Too
By Stephanie Saul
Newsday [Brooklyn NY]
May 8, 2003
The disgraced priest accused last year of harboring a male lover in his Ozone Park rectory did the same thing in the 1980s in Brooklyn, says a church secretary who alleges her complaints about the living arrangement went nowhere.
The explosive allegation against the Rev. John Thompson by Louise O'Connor, Church of the Holy Name secretary, was disclosed yesterday in State Supreme Court in Queens, where former St. Elizabeth School principal Barbara Samide is suing the Diocese of Brooklyn and Thompson for alleged harassment and sexual abuse.
Among Samide's assertions is that Thompson kept the male lover while assigned to St. Elizabeth, where she was principal until last year. Thompson has pleaded guilty to stealing $95,940 in church funds but has denied other claims by Samide.
The allegations that Thompson also kept a male lover at Holy Name in Windsor Terrace came in a letter from O'Connor to a Manhattan lawyer raising funds for the priest's defense. O'Connor also sent a copy to Bishop Thomas Daily.
"He knows damn well that what went on here at Holy Name fell nothing short of what went on at St. Elizabeth's. I was a witness to it all with my own eyes," O'Connor wrote last year because she was offended by the fund-raising effort.
In an interview yesterday, O'Connor gave additional details, saying Thompson moved a young man into the rectory with him at Holy Name. Thompson claimed that the young man came from a broken home and needed a place to stay. O'Connor said she later realized the young man was Thompson's lover.
When she voiced concern to the pastor, a now-deceased monsignor, "His response was kind of negative," she said, as if he did not believe it.
Shortly thereafter, Thompson took a leave of absence from the priesthood and moved to an apartment in Brooklyn, telling O'Connor he had emotional problems, she said.
In the letter, O'Connor also said she felt uncomfortable with Thompson's friendliness toward her underage son. The priest bought him $300 roller skates behind her back, she said. "My son was almost a victim of John Thompson," the letter said.
A lawyer for Thompson, Terence Quinlan, declined to comment.
Mike Dowd, the lawyer for Barbara Samide, said the O'Connor letter is the only document released by the diocese that shows similar allegations against Thompson before he got to St. Elizabeth. Dowd said documentation should exist explaining why Thompson took a leave of absence and was transferred.
"They either have the records and they're hiding them, or they destroyed the records," Dowd said.
Diocesan lawyer Richard Cea denied that. "I intend to hold back nothing, because there is nothing to hide," Cea said.
Meantime, Samide confirmed that she has received a $15,000 check for back pay from the diocese, which placed her on unpaid leave last year after she requested a transfer.
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