Irish priest in New York to be defrocked over 30-year-old sex abuse allegations

Irish Central

Kate Hickey @KateHickey_ September 28, 2016

The Archdiocese of New York has confirmed that priest who has been accused of the sexual abuse of a minor on two occasions in New York and Virginia, over three decades ago, will never function as a priest again.

Monsignor John O’Keefe (71), formerly of Pearl River, NY and once president of a Westchester County Catholic high school, has been permanently removed from his ministry according to the lawyer for this alleged victim, Mitchell Garabedian. On Sunday afternoon a joint press release was issued by New-Jersey-based nonprofit Road to Recovery Inc, which helps victims of sexual abuse, and Garabedian. The Boston lawyer said he had been informed of this decision in August.

A spokesman for the Archdiocese of New York said they would not make any public statements until the process is completed. This would include bringing the matter to the Holy See, in the Vatican. The process of defrocking a Catholic priest can take years, but a church official confirmed with The Journal News “that O’Keefe will never be permitted to function again as a priest.”

Due to the statute of limitations O’Keefe has not been charged with any crimes. Garabedian said his client was abused between 1981 and 1983 while studying at Cardinal Hayes High School in The Bronx. O’Keefe was a teacher and guidance counselor at the school.

It is alleged that the abuse happened in a Virginia hotel room during a school trip to Washington, DC and at the Irish Christian Brothers’ retreat house in Esopus, NY during a weekend leadership training program.

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