Embattled Priest Dies; Lawsuits Go on
McCaffrey: Accused of Abuse in Alaska, He Had Been Living in Oregon

The Associated Press, carried in Anchorage Daily News
May 10, 2006

FAIRBANKS -- A former pastor of Fairbanks Immaculate Conception Church, who stepped down last year after allegations he sexually abused children in Western Alaska, died in his sleep Sunday at Colombiere Jesuit Community in Portland, Ore., church officials said. He was 63.

The Rev. Richard L. McCaffrey had "longstanding cardiac and pulmonary problems," a news release said.

McCaffrey was relieved of his pastoral duties a year ago by Fairbanks Catholic Diocese Bishop Donald Kettler after the allegations. Kettler officially removed McCaffrey from ministry in the diocese three months later, in the wake of an independent investigation by the diocese.

McCaffrey maintained his denial of any wrongdoing.

Anchorage attorney Ken Roosa, who represents two female plaintiffs in civil suits against McCaffrey, the diocese and the Society of Jesus, Oregon Province, said McCaffrey's death is a disappointment.

"We really wanted to question him in depositions," Roosa said.

McCaffrey's death will not stop the lawsuits that have been filed to date.

Kettler expressed his sadness at McCaffrey's passing and offered prayers for his soul. No other statement was released by the chancery.

McCaffrey had been pastor of Immaculate Conception parish since 1998 and had worked in nearly a dozen Alaska parishes since 1967. He was pastor in Bethel for 10 ? years before being transferred to Fairbanks as pastor at Immaculate Conception.

Parishioners of the historic downtown church learned at a Mass on Monday of McCaffrey's death. Several expressed sadness at the news.

A Mass will be today on the same day of his burial.


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