Priest dismissed over ‘credible’ abuse claim

Queens Chronicle [Glendale NY]

December 9, 2021

By Katherine Donlevy

Mahoney accused of sexual assault

More than 40 years after the alleged abuse took place, a priest has been removed from public ministry after his diocese determined the allegations may be true.

The independent Diocesan Review Board found a claim of alleged sexual abuse against a minor that was lodged against 86-year-old Peter Mahoney to be credible, the diocese announced Nov. 22. The alleged crimes took place between 1975 and 1978 while he was serving in Brooklyn.

The DRB’s determination does not mean the allegations are true and that Mahoney is guilty, only that the panel believes them to be credible.

“But that determination is enough to get the priest removed from service,” a spokesperson from the diocese told the Chronicle.

At the time of the DRB’s determination, Mahoney had been ministering to the Hispanic community at Saint Anne Catholic Church in Flushing and St. Nicholas of Tolentine in Jamaica, the Diocese of Brooklyn said. The priest will no longer be permitted to celebrate Mass publicly or exercise any public ministry; he cannot live in an ecclesiastical residence, and his name will be added to the List of Credibly Accused Priests on the Diocese of Brooklyn website.

There are 45 priests already on the list.

According to the diocese, the allegation came into its reporting line in October 2020 and was referred for an investigation. Another claimant came forward in April, and filed a lawsuit against Mahoney under the Child Victims Act. That case is ongoing, a spokesperson for the diocese told the Chronicle, but will not be handled by the NYPD because the statue of limitations has run out.

Anyone who has been the victim of clergy sexual abuse is encouraged to report it to law enforcement or to the Toll-Free Reporting Line established by the diocese at 1 (888) 634-4499. All calls are forwarded to law enforcement officials.