Priest with Staten Island Ties Accused of Groping Child in Westchester County
By Maura Grunlund
December 21, 2018
|The Rev. Thomas Kreiser, who briefly served on Staten Island, is accused of groping a girl at a Roman Catholic parish school in Westchester County.|
The Rev. Thomas Kreiser, who briefly served on Staten Island, is accused of groping a girl at a Roman Catholic elementary school in Westchester County, according to information provided by a district attorney and the Archdiocese of New York.
Westchester County District Attorney Anthony A. Scarpino announced that Father Kreiser, 53, of Riverdale in the Bronx, was arraigned Tuesday on a charge of felony sexual abuse in the alleged incident.
Father Kreiser has a prior conviction for gambling, according to Catholic New York.
Father Kreiser was a parochial vicar for just under a year in 2010-2011 at St. Ann’s R.C. Church, Dongan Hills, according to Joseph Zwilling, director of communications for the Archdiocese of New York.
The Rev. Joy Mampilly, pastor of St. Ann’s, referred the Advance to Zwilling for comment.
The Archdiocese removed Father Kreiser from St. Joseph’s parish in Bronxville where the incident allegedly occurred, the district attorney’s statement said.
The charge in Westchester alleges that Father Kreiser touched a fully clothed 10-year-old girl on an intimate part of her body while in a St. Joseph’s parish school building on Sept. 20. The incident occurred during a school day, according to the district attorney’s statement.
At the time of the alleged abuse, Father Kreiser was assigned to St. Joseph’s Parish, which has a church and elementary school, and he was visiting the school as part of his duties, according to the district attorney’s statement.
“As is our practice and our promise, the Archdiocese of New York first reported the allegation from the parents concerning Father Thomas Kreiser to the Westchester District Attorney’s office in September when it came to our attention,” said a statement from the Archdiocese of New York.
“Both the archdiocese and the Parish of Saint Joseph, where Father Kreiser was assigned at the time, have been fully cooperating with the DA, and will continue to do so. While we will wait for the justice system to complete its work, due to the serious nature of the allegation, Father Kreiser has not been permitted to exercise his priestly ministry or present himself as a priest since the allegation arose.”
Father Kreiser surrendered to Bronxville Police on Tuesday afternoon and was arraigned in Bronxville Village Court. Bail was set at $10,000 cash/$20,000 bond. He is due back in court Jan. 16, according to the district attorney’s statement.
The investigation was conducted by the Bronxville Police Department and the Westchester District Attorney’s Office, the district attorney’s statement said.
In August 2011, Catholic New York provided the following account of Father Kresier’s gambling conviction:
"Father Kreiser, who had formerly served as pastor of St. Gregory Barbarigo in Garnerville, pleaded guilty in June to stealing $25,000 from the parish to support a gambling addiction and personal expenses. He was sentenced July 25 to five years’ probation.
"Father Kreiser, 46, has repaid the money to St. Gregory Barbarigo, where he was pastor from 2008 to 2010. He had pleaded guilty to fourth-degree grand larceny.
"During the sentencing by Judge Charles Apotheker of Rockland County Supreme Court, Father Kreiser said, ‘I just want to express my remorse for what I’ve done. To the people of St. Gregory, I apologize for violating their faith in me.’
Father Kreiser’s appointment to St. Joseph’s was announced in July in Catholic New York, which listed the following previous assignments:
Sacred Heart R.C. Church in Monroe, 2017;
St. Patrick’s R.C. Church, Yorktown Heights, 2011 to 2017;
St. Gregory Barbarigo, Garnerville, 2008-2010;
Immaculate Heart of Mary R.C. Church, Scarsdale, 2004 to 2008;
St. Columba’s R.C. Church, Hopewell Junction, 2001-2004;
Sacred Heart R.C. Church, Monroe, 1994-1998.
The official listing makes no mention of Father Kreiser’s time at St. Ann’s. He was ordained in 1994 and did graduate studies at the Pontifical Athenaeum of St. Anselm, Rome, from 1998 to 2001.
People who have experienced abuse by a priest or deacon are urged by the archdiocese to call the district attorney as well as Sister Eileen Clifford, the victims assistance coordinator for the archdiocese, at 646-794-2949.