Bx. Priest Wins Right to Hearing on Sex Rap

By Owen Moritz
New York Daily News
January 7, 2006

A revered Bronx priest accused of sexual abuse won the right to a church tribunal yesterday after the Vatican ruled the allegations merit a trial.

Msgr. Charles Kavanagh, who has steadfastly maintained his innocence, hailed the move.

"Our ordeal is almost over," said an elated Kavanagh, who was suspended as pastor of St. Raymond's Church in Parkchester in May 2002 after a former seminarian came forward with the charge.

"For four years now, all I have ever asked for was a full judiciary review," Kavanagh said in a statement. "I am fully confident that once I have a chance to present my case, I will be completely vindicated and will return to the ministry that I love."

The trial will be held in the Diocese of Erie, Pa., because of the publicity surrounding the case in New York. No date was announced.

Kavanagh, 66, once a major fund-raiser for the Archdiocese of New York, took the rare step of going public with his case after Edward Cardinal Egan suspended him in 2002 based on the charge.

At the time of the alleged incidents between 1977 and 1985, the monsignor was rector of Cathedral Preparatory Seminary in Manhattan.

Kavanagh said yesterday he has apologized to the former student for "hugging" him.

The order for the rare church trial came from the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, according to a statement from the New York Archdiocese.

The monsignor has been a popular priest at St. Raymond's, and parishioners have rallied behind him.


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