'Perv Priest' Works at HS

By Douglas Montero and Dan Mangan
New York Post
March 30, 2009

A man defrocked as a priest in 1993 -- and who later was sued for allegedly molesting a former student at a Catholic high school -- is now working at a public high school as an assistant principal.

And Michael O'Herlihy's accuser -- who claimed he was abused at 16 by the then-priest at Cardinal Hayes HS in The Bronx in 1979 -- hopes a proposed law will let him relaunch a suit against O'Herlihy and the New York Archdiocese.

O'Herlihy is an assistant principal for math and science at Manhattan Comprehensive Night and Day HS, where he previously taught science.

The city Department of Education said that when it hired O'Herlihy in 1995, it was unaware of the allegations and he had no criminal record. Since then, there have been no allegations of improper conduct made against him, the department said.

O'Herlihy said he remembered the accuser from his days of teaching at Hayes, but added, "I don't know anything" about the molestation allegation.

He said he left the priesthood in 1993 because of a nervous breakdown.

The archdiocese confirmed he was defrocked in 1993.

And O'Herlihy's name was on a list of priests that the archdiocese gave Manhattan DA Robert Morgenthau in 2002, said archdiocese spokesman Joseph Zwilling. That list named priests who had been the subject of complaints of sexual misconduct with children.

The DA then referred O'Herlihy's name to the district attorneys in The Bronx, Queens and Staten Island, a source said. No criminal charges were ever filed.

O'Herlihy's accuser, who spoke to The Post, was among a group of plaintiffs who in 2004 sued priests, including O'Herlihy, and the archdiocese, alleging child molestation.

The state Court of Appeals tossed the suit out in 2006 because it was filed after the statute of limitations expired.

Now, the Legislature is considering a bill that would -- for one year -- suspend the statute of limitations, allowing the filing of civil suits such as the one against O'Herlihy for decades-old incidents.

"I hope with my heart and soul that this legislation passes so that all my clients, who are numbering about 150 right now, can have some peace and resolution in their lives," said Michael Dowd, the lawyer for O'Herlihy's accuser.

O'Herlihy "sexually abused" the accuser in 1980 after the boy told the priest he had already been abused by a Catholic group volunteer, the complaint claims.



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