Priests Demand Audience with Cardinal to Discuss Treatment of Clergymen Accused of Sex Abuse

By Ken Rosato
WABC [New York]
December 21, 2003

Edward Cardinal Egan under fire this morning for not supporting priests accused of sexual abuse. Dozens of priests want a face to face meeting with the New York Archbishop.

It is very rare that a priest ever questions the authority of his bishop. But that seems to be the case at the Archdioceses of New York.

Sixty-nine priests have apparently signed a petition that they are presenting to Cardinal Egan. They say that morale among the priests in the Archdiocese is at an all time low.

In the Bronx on Saturday, a group of 300 parishioners supported their priest who is also being accused in sex scandal.

Msgr. Charles Kavanagh, Suspended Priest: "My integrity is in place. I will be vindicated."

Monsignor Charles Kavanagh defended his record and tried to clear his name. Hundreds of people showed up to celebrate his 40 years of service to the church and to stand by him.

John Dearie, Fmr. State Assemblyman: "Somehow now the tenor is guilty until proven innocent and we need to fight that."

A former seminary student accuses Kavanagh of inappropriate touching 20 years ago at a seminary in Manhattan. The allegations led to Kavanagh's indefinite suspension last year.

Kavanagh's supporters want him to be reinstated.

Fr. Robert Hoatson, SNAP: "The young man that came forward to report that abuse knows what happened to him. He knows that it was inappropriate and that it was illegal."

And Father Robert Hoatson of the "Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests" says Kavanagh should be held responsible.

Fr. Robert Hoatson, SNAP: "Every time Monsignor Kavanagh attempts to defend what he did to that young man -- he re-victimizes that young man."

Kavanagh's case is now in the hands of the Vatican. Since the sex abuse scandal began to unfold, 14 priests in the Archdiocese of New York have been removed from their jobs.


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