Nevada Prison System: Chaplain Retires After Sex Abuse Allegations

By Sean Whaley
Las Vegas Review-Journal [Nevada]
February 8, 2003

Carson City — A chaplain with the Nevada prison system retired after he was named in a federal lawsuit that accuses him of abuse 25 years ago at Father Flanagan's Boys Town.

James F. Kelly, reached at home in the capital Friday, said the allegations made against him by James Duffy are completely false.

'Obviously, I was very surprised and hurt by it,' Kelly said. 'I absolutely, vehemently deny it.'

Kelly, 70, said he automatically was placed on administrative leave by the Catholic Church after the allegation surfaced. Rather than remain on leave, Kelly said he decided to retire from his job as chaplain with the Department of Corrections, where he has worked for seven years.

Kelly is not named as a defendant, but is identified in the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Omaha, Neb., by Duffy, an Arizona resident, against the home for troubled boys. Duffy said Kelly was one of two men who molested him at Boys Town in 1978.

Kelly said he worked at Boys Town for seven years, including the period mentioned in the lawsuit. He said he does not remember Duffy.

Kelly said he was told that Duffy recalled the abuse in a repressed memory released following news of another abuse lawsuit being settled.

Duffy filed the lawsuit Jan. 30.

Kelly said two people who lived at Boys Town during his years working there have called to offer their support.

'They backed me up completely,' he said.

As a prison chaplain in the capital, Kelly said he ministered to thousands of inmates and coordinated religious services of all denominations for them.

The Associated Press reported Tuesday that Kelly is a former Albany, N.Y., diocesan priest who also was accused of sexual misconduct in New York in the 1980s. Kelly was accused of sexual misconduct in 1983 and 1984, while he worked in Rensselaer, N.Y., The Associated Press reported, citing a news story in the Albany Times Union.

Bishop Howard Hubbard told the Albany newspaper that the diocese investigated the complaint in the 1980s and determined that Kelly's actions did not constitute sexual abuse. However, he was ordered to undergo therapy and evaluation before returning to the ministry, Hubbard told the newspaper.


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