Holy Name Province releases list of Franciscan friars credibly accused of child sex abuse

WKBW [Buffalo NY]

October 14, 2021

By Sean Mickey

For the first time, Holy Name Province published a list of Franciscan friars with substantiated child sexual abuse and misconduct claims following a review of its files by an advisory firm.

The newly released list contains the names of 23 friars, many of which have ties to the Diocese of Buffalo.

Among the clergy Holy Name Province has deemed to be credibly accused of child sexual abuse is Fr. Kevin J. Downey, O.F.M. Downey was a priest in the Diocese of Raleigh and an alumnus and former trustee of St. Bonaventure University.

Downey previously served as pastor at St. Bonaventure Parish in Allegany, N.Y.

He was placed on administrative leave by Holy Name Province in May 2016, just months after being named to the St. Bonaventure University Board of Trustees, following an allegation that he had committed sexual abuse of a minor in 1990.

An independent investigation found the claim credible, and Downey was removed from “all public ministries” in April 2017.

According to a university spokesperson, St. Bonaventure was not aware of any allegation against Downey when he was named a trustee. He then resigned before the allegation became public.

Despite the investigation’s findings, Downey remains a friar, living at St. Anthony Friary in St. Petersburg, Fla., in the Diocese of St. Petersburg.

Fr. Kevin J. Downey, O.F.M.
Fr. Kevin J. Downey, O.F.M.

According to its website, friars living at St. Anthony “are engaged in serving the community as teachers, campus ministers, parish associates, parish missionaries, week-end helpers, confessors, chaplains and spiritual directors.”

The friary houses retired and active friars “living the Gospel values according to the Rule of St. Francis of Assisi.”

In a written statement issued to the 7 Eyewitness News I-Team, a Holy Name Province spokesperson said, “Fr. Kevin Downey is technically still a priest, but he was permanently removed from all public ministries and ministerial environments more than four years ago.”

The friary where Downey resides is within short walking distance to two public parks and Tampa Bay.

Despite being accused several years ago, Downey remains listed in the Official Catholic Directory without designation or annotation that he was found to have committed sexual misconduct against a child.

Anchin, Block and Anchin LLP reviewed files of every Holy Name friar dating back to 1950, according to the province.

Many of the names published based on Anchin’s review, findings, and recommendations had previously been made public.

Holy Name Province sent the list to the bishops of archdioceses and dioceses where the friars had been stationed in ministry.

“It is our humble view that Holy Name has successfully addressed the scourge of sexual abuse of minors and is now a model for training, safe environment policies and procedures, preventive practices and education, oversight, and outreach to abuse survivors,” wrote Fr. Kevin Mullen, O.F.M Provincial Minister in a letter on the province’s website.

Some Franciscan friars, under the purview of Holy Name Province, with previously reported allegations were not included on the list.

The list of 23 friars with substantiated allegations include:

  • Eusebius Arundel (Deceased)
  • Severin Brady (Deceased)
  • Jordan Charbonneau (Deceased)
  • Joseph Collier (Deceased)
  • Adrian Donachie (Deceased)
  • John Dority (Deceased)
  • Kevin Downey (Removed from ministry)
  • Aidan Duffy (Deceased)
  • Matthew Gaskin (Deceased)
  • Louis Hamm (Deceased)
  • Linus Hennessy (Deceased)
  • Placid Hennessy (Deceased)
  • Rene Maynard (Separated from Province)
  • Jogues McVeigh (Separated from Province)
  • Roger McQuarrie (Deceased)
  • Paul Oligny (Deceased)
  • Raymond O’Reilly (Deceased)
  • John Rudy (Removed from ministry)
  • Bernard Splawski (Removed from ministry)
  • Richard Trezza (Removed from ministry)
  • Joseph Trunk (Deceased)
  • Donatus Walsh (Deceased)
  • Leonard Walsh (Deceased)