Visiting Priest Is Arrested In Sex Abuse of Queens Boy

By Thomas J. Lueck
New York Times
June 26, 2002

A priest visiting a Roman Catholic parish in Queens was arrested last night and charged with the sexual abuse of a 12-year-boy during a Father's Day excursion to Rockaway Beach.

The authorities said the priest, the Rev. Peter Kiare, 41, a native of Kenya who is a member of a missionary order in Ireland, would be arraigned today in Queens County Criminal Court on charges of sex abuse, forcible touching and endangering the welfare of a child.

He was arrested at 5:30 p.m. yesterday by detectives with the Queens Special Victims Bureau at a residence for priests in Long Island City, Queens, and remained in jail last night pending his arraignment, according to Patrick Clark, a spokesman for the Queens County district attorney, Richard A. Brown.

An investigator said the 12-year-old described an ordeal of being touched against his will repeatedly over the course of a beach trip to the southern end of Queens.

Father Kiare is the third priest arrested in just over a month on charges of sex abuse committed in the Diocese of Brooklyn, which includes Queens. On May 23, a priest from India was arrested in Harlem and charged with molesting a 12-year-old girl three years ago at her home in Brooklyn. And on Friday, a visiting priest from Nigeria was arrested in Texas and charged with raping a woman two years ago in a Brooklyn rectory.

That priest, the Rev. Cyriacus Udegbulem, 38, was dismissed by the Diocese of Laredo, Tex., in 2001 because of complaints that he had groped women there, a law enforcement official in New York said yesterday. Father Udegbulem pleaded not guilty to the New York charges on Monday at his arraignment before Justice Neil J. Firetog of State Supreme Court in Brooklyn. The judge set bail at $50,000. Father Udegbulem remains imprisoned at Rikers Island, pending his next court date in September.

His lawyer, George Lewis, said his client maintained that the sexual contact in Brooklyn was consensual.

The authorities said last night that Father Kiare had arrived in New York on June 11 and was delivering sermons at St. Mary's Church in Woodside, Queens. A member of Holy Ghost Fathers, a missionary order at work in poor nations of Africa and elsewhere, he was asking for donations from the parishioners, according to a church official.

Investigators said he befriended the 12-year-old boy and won the trust of the boy's family, who are members of the St. Mary's congregation. With the family's consent, they said, he took the boy on an outing on June 16; they traveled by public bus to Rockaway Beach.

"The abuse occurred on the bus, on the beach and on the bus ride back," said an official close to the investigation who insisted that his name not be used. He said the boy told detectives that he resisted the priest's advances, which involved groping and touching, and told his mother of the abuse when he returned home.

The boy's mother then contacted St. Mary's, and officials there contacted the Queens district attorney, the authorities said. They declined to identify the boy or his family.

Frank DeRosa, a spokesman for the Diocese of Brooklyn, said last night that St. Mary's it was "very likely" that officials at St. Mary's had consulted diocesan officials about the incident before contacting the district attorney.

But he said Father Kiare, unlike the two other visiting priests charged recently with sexual offenses, had not been authorized by the diocese to work in any parish of Brooklyn or Queens. "He had no permission to function here," Mr. DeRosa said. Although it is not uncommon for visiting priests to spend time at parishes raising money for missionary work without the official sanction of the local diocese, he said that Father Kiare's status as a missionary doing fund-raising placed him outside direct oversight of the diocese.

For years, he said, the diocese has had a policy requiring priests from abroad who are authorized to work in parishes to provide an affidavit, signed by the priests' own bishops, that they have no history of "anything that would disqualify them from working in a parish."

Such affidavits were provided by the two other priests who now face sexual abuse charges, he said.

Father Kiare "is not a priest of the Brooklyn Diocese or associated with that parish," he said.


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