Man Alleges Priest Sexually Abused Him 30 Years Ago
October 31, 2014
An Omaha man is alleging a religious order priest sexually abused him 30 years ago when he was a minor, the Archdiocese of Omaha reported Friday.
The Rev. Anthony Palmese was associate pastor of Holy Ghost Parish in 1984-1985 and a member of the New Jersey-based Order of Augustinian Recollects when the alleged abuse took place. The man and his family were members of the parish at the time. Palmese died in 2012.
The Order of Augustinian Recollects founded Holy Ghost in 1918. It provided the parish with a pastor from its ranks until leaving Omaha and transferring Holy Ghost to the archdiocese in 1986.
The archdiocese learned of the allegation on Dec. 30, 2013, said Deacon Tim McNeil, chancellor of the archdiocese. The allegation was reported to local law enforcement and the order's headquarters. McNeil said that because Palmese belonged to the Augustinian Recollects, the order is carrying out the investigation.
"The archdiocese is serving as a liaison between the complainant and the religious order," McNeil said. "We referred him to an outside counselor," McNeil said.
McNeil said Holy Ghost parishioners would hear about the allegation for the first time on Sunday. "If there are other victims, we want to make sure they receive the necessary care and attention."
McNeil said the archdiocese tries to notify a parish within weeks of receiving an allegation or following the completion of a preliminary investigation, but the archdiocese recently learned the specifics of the complainant's allegations. McNeil also indicated that the complainant was reluctant to cooperate with the order's investigation.
"We don't know when the investigation will end," McNeil said. "Therefore, out of an abundance of caution, we are notifying parishioners, even though Palmese's guilt or innocence has not been determined."