SNAP - Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests [St. Louis MO]
November 23, 2021
By Mike McDonnell
More than a year after a New York City Catholic priest was accused of sexually abusing a child, the Brooklyn Diocese has finally removed the 86-year-old from ministry. According to a statement released by the Diocese, its panel of independent investigators found the allegations against Fr. Peter Mahoney to be “credible.” Church officials also said that his name will now be included on the Diocese’s list of accused clerics, although this update does not appear to be a priority for the Diocese as Fr. Mahoney was still missing at the time of this statement.
We loudly applaud the brave survivor who reported the abuse in October 2020, as well as the second victim who filed a lawsuit in April of 2021 under the Child Victims Act. The 2020 accusation took place between 1975 and 1978, while Rev. Mahoney was working at St. Martin of Tours in Brooklyn. We know that the average age for a child sex abuse victim to come forward is 52, so it is not surprising that this survivor is just speaking out now. We would expect many of the civil suits being filed as a result of New York’s window legislation to include victims from the 1970s and 1980s.
It is troubling to us that Fr. Mahoney worked in parishes for decades, including for more than a year after what was reportedly the first allegation against him. The clergyman had a part-time assignment with the Hispanic community at Saint Anne Catholic Church in Flushing, Queens, and St. Nicholas of Tolentine in Jamaica, Queens, between October 2020 and his recent removal. It is very common for abusive priests to have many victims over the course of their careers. It is very hard to believe that there had been no complaints about the cleric prior to 2020, and also that he was allowed to continue working despite the 2020 accusation, possibly endangering more young lives. We hope that additional information will be uncovered in the second victim’s lawsuit.
This case shows the effectiveness of the Child Victims Act in New York and in other states that have enacted similar legislation. Previous unknown abusers are being exposed, and today’s children are safer because of that exposure. We urge Diocesan officials to immediately add Fr. Mahoney to their list of accused priests and to include the full work history of his long career.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)