Upstate Irish Priest Accused of Abuse

By Sean O'Driscoll
Irish Voice [New York]
June 14, 2006

A Catholic priest in upstate New York has claimed that he was sexually abused as a child by an Irish priest who has recently returned to Ireland.

Father Mark Jaufmann held a press conference in Schenectady in upstate New York on Friday to allege that he was sexually abused by Father Jeremiah Nunan, a prominent anti-abortion advocate who organizes prayer meetings about abortion clinics.

Nunan, was who ordained in Co. Waterford, left his parishes in Cairo and East Durham, New York in February after the allegations first arose.

Parishioners were unaware of the source of the allegations until Friday, when Jaufmann appeared at a press conference along with his lawyer and members of a clerical abuse support group.

He said that he felt deeply hurt that the Albany diocese had ignored his allegations, a claim that church authorities strongly deny.

Jaufmann, 49, alleged that he was sexually abused by Nunan for three years, beginning when he was nine years old. He said the church had "failed miserably" to bring healing to abuse victims.

However, Father Kenneth Doyle, a spokesman for the Albany diocese, told the Irish Voice that Nunan denied the allegations. He said that Nunan was visiting friends and relatives in Ireland, as he did every summer, and would be watching the outcome of the church investigation before deciding when to return to the U.S.

The allegations are being investigated by the Independent Mediation Assistance Program, or IMAP, which the Albany diocese created in 2004 to examine claims of clerical sexual abuse.

Scott Fein, an IMAP lawyer, said that IMAP had offered to meet with Jaufmann at least eight times but he had declined the invite.

Nunan was ordained in Waterford in 1963 and founded a ministry in Cairo and East Durham in 1989. He is known in the area for organizing prayer meetings outside local abortion clinics.

On the website of the anti-abortion group, Priests for Life, he said that the prayer groups had helped bring down the number of abortions in Albany diocese.

In 2003, a Kerry priest was removed from the Cairo parish after admitting he abused a minor in the 1970s. At that time, Nunan organized counseling for the parishioner and said that the parish must continue to build.

He said that some of the parishioners were "in denial" about the abuse of trust at the parish.


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