Rev. Gennaro L. "Jerry" Gentile

Summary of Case: Ordained in 1971, Gentile is said to have abused dozens of boys during his thirty-plus years as a priest in the New York archdiocese. Archdiocesan officials knew of allegations against Gentile for years, yet allowed him to remain in ministry. Cardinal O'Connor's director of priest personnel, Msgr. Edward O'Donnell, brokered settlements with families who had claims that their boys were sexually abused by Gentile, swearing those families to secrecy. A priest who worked with Gentile at one parish expressed concern to archdiocesan officials about Gentile's involvement with boys. That priest was let go, and Gentile was allowed to stay. Gentile wasn't removed from active ministry until April 2002. He was defrocked in 2005.

: 1971


Start Stop Parish/Assignment Town/Accusations State Position Notes


New York archbishop was Terence James Cooke (1968-1983)

  St. Mary's

Wappinger's Falls


NY deacon In June 1971 Gentile's mentor at this assignment, Rev. Richard O'Gorman, expressed concern about Gentile to the seminary director of field education. O'Gorman wrote, "I feel that he has a problem... ."
1965 1971 St. Joseph's Seminary Yonkers NY seminarian  
1971 June 1976 St. Mary's


Gentile took three boys on a camping trip to Virginia in the summer of 1973. One of the boys, who was 13 years-old in 1973, told his parents in the 1990s that Gentile had accosted him in the tent, trying to pull off his pajama bottoms. The attack is said to have gone on a long while, with the boy struggling to keep the priest away from him.

Another man, interviewed in 2002, said Gentile sexually abused him beginning in 1971, when the man was 11 or 12 years-old, and a St. Mary's altar server.

June 1976 June 1982 St. Denis Hopewell Junction NY   The pastor of St. Denis during these years was concerned about Gentile's involvement with children, taking them on overnight trips, and having kids in the rectory.
June 1982 Nov. 1983 St. Mary's Marlboro NY The pastor at this parish complained to Rev. O'Gorman of Wappinger Falls that Gentile bought an old school bus to transport kids.

Nov. 1983

Cooke was succeeded by John Joseph O'Connor (1984-2000)

April1984 St. Eugene's Yonkers NY    
April 1984 May 1984 St. Charles Borromeo Gardiner NY    
May 1984 April 1987 Immaculate Conception Tuckahoe NY    

April 1987

2000 Holy Name of Mary


In Aug. 1994 the mother of a 14 year- old boy had been concerned about her son and asked Gentile for advice. Gentile volunteered to take the boy, then 14, to his upstate lake house ("Jerry's Retreat") to talk with him. While at the lake house, Gentile is said to have given the boy liquor and sexually abused him. The boy's behavior became erratic in the following months, and he tried to take his own life. The boy told his therapist about the abuse in 1996. Rather than press charges, as encouraged by the therapist, the boy's family went to Fr. Lemmert for help. Lemmert detailed his concerns about Gentile in writing to for archdiocese. In 1997 the archdiocese agreed to pay for psychiatric therapy for this boy. They also had the family commit to a confidentiality agreement.

In a 1997 lawsuit, Gentile was accused of sexually abusing two boys, who were brothers, in the early 1990s. Some of the abuse is said to have occurred in Gentile's upstate lake house, and some in the boys' family's home.

In the 1990s the archdiocese received complaints about Gentile from at least four families.

NY pastor

Rev. Ron Lemmert, who arrived at Holy Name of Mary in 1988, said Gentile told him in 1993 that a parishioner accused him of sexually abusing male teens. Lemmert said he told Gentile he shouldn't take teen boys on unchaperoned trips any longer, and that Gentile agreed not to. Lemmert expressed "dismay" that Gentile took boys on a trip a week later. In Dec. 1995 Lemmert wrote an anonymous letter to Msgr. George Thompson of the archdiocesan personnel board with his concerns about Gentile's involvement with boys.

After the 1997 lawsuit was filed, the archdiocese sent Monsignor Edward O'Donnell to St. Mary's to tell parishioners Gentile was innocent. Parishioners were told the archdiocese knew of "no other allegations against Gentile" and that the civil suit was about money.

Lemmert was hospitalized for stress. O'Donnell told him not to discuss with anyone the "matter" about Gentile and the boy who had tried to suicide. Lemmert was also dismissed from service at Holy Name of Mary. Gentile was kept in ministry at Holy Name.

When the family who filed 1997 lawsuit went public, a woman who had witnessed inappropriate sexual behavior by Gentile towards boys at the lake house two years before contacted Msgr. O'Donnell. O'Donnell responded by speculating that Gentile's behavior was simply that of a demonstrative Italian.

A few Holy Name parishioners urged O'Donnell and Cardinal O'Connor to remove Gentile from the parish and to thoroughly investigate the charges.

2000     Rome NY   Gentile spent the summer of 2000 assisting at a parish in Rome.


O'Connor was replaced as New York archbishop by Edward Michael Egan (2000-2009)

  St. Benedict's Throgg's Neck (Bronx) NY  

Gentile was sent to this parish as a fill-in, but when parishioners discovered his past they threatened to withhold donations. He was at this parish less than two weeks.

Gentile is not listed in the 2001-2003 Directories.

2000 2002 Catholic Center Annulments Office Poughkeepsie NY   Gentile Gentile was removed from ministry in April 2002. The Vatican announced in Sept. 2005 that Gentile had been defrocked.


Sources: Official Catholic Directory (New York: P.J. Kenedy and Sons, 1970-71, 1972-2002)

Priest with troubled past removed from St. Benedict's, By John Desio, Bronx Press, March 22, 2002
Twisted Journey of a Problem Priest, Daily News Investigation, Series: Predator Priest, First of Two Parts / Part 1 of 2, By Heidi Evans and Richard T. Pienciak with additional research by Ellen Locker and Faigi Rosenthal, Daily News, March 27, 2002
Priest Had Church on His Side, Daily News Investigation, Series: Predator Priest, Second of Two Parts / Part 2 of 2, Problem By HeidiEvans and Richard T. Pienciak with additional research by Ellen Locker and Faigi Rosenthal, Daily News, March 28, 2002
Croton-on-Hudson priest removed from parish, By Melissa Klein, Journal News, April 7, 2002
Ex-Local Priest on Abuse List, By Timothy O'Connor, Times Herald-Record, April 10, 2002
Grand Jury Eyes Priests, W'chester panel weighs sex charges, archdiocese's role, By Heidi Evans and Richard T. Pienciak, Daily News, May 16, 2002
He Handles the Scandals, By Heidi Evans, Daily News, June 16, 2002
The Accused, USA Today, November 11, 2002
Six N.Y. Priests Defrocked, By Gary Stern, Journal News, July 9, 2005
Westchester Pastors Charged with Sexual Abuse of Minors, By Gary Stern, Journal News (Westchester County, New York), September 2, 2005
'Epistles on Clergy Abuse', By Matt C. Abbott, Renew America, April 2, 2006
Changes for the Catholic Church, By Charlie Mangiardi, The Heights, February 15, 2010

Priests in a Parish: We use the following convention to show a priest's place among the clergy of a parish: 1/2 means that he is the first priest listed in the Official Catholic Directory (usually the pastor) and that there is a total of two priests at the parish. The shorthand 3/4 means that the priest is listed third on a four-priest roster. See our sample page from the Directory.

Note: The Official Catholic Directory aims to report the whereabouts of Catholic priests in the United States on January 1 of the Directory's publication year. Our working assumption is that a priest listed in the Directory for a given year was at the same assignment for part of the previous year as well. However, Kenedy and Sons will sometimes accept updates well into the year of publication. Diocesan clergy records are rarely available to correct this information. The Directory is also sometimes misleading or wrong. We have tried to create an accurate assignment record, given the source materials and their limitations. Assignment records are a work in progress and we are always improving the records that we post. Please email us with new information and corrections.

This assignment record collates Gentile's career history as it is represented in the Official Catholic Directory with allegations as reported in the media. We make no representation regarding the truth of the allegation we report, and we remind our readers that the U.S. legal system presumes that a person accused of or charged with a crime is innocent until proven guilty. Similarly, individuals who may be defendants in civil actions are presumed not to be liable for such claims unless a plaintiff proves otherwise. Admissions of guilt or liability are not typically a part of civil or private settlements. For more information, see our posting policy.

This assignment record was last updated on Feb. 1, 2012