Accused Priest Had Worked in Nebraska

By Christopher Burbach
Omaha World-Herald
January 19, 2008

A priest who worked in Nebraska parishes in the 1980s is under investigation for alleged sexual misconduct with a minor in the mid-1970s, the Archdiocese of Omaha said Friday.

The Rev. Patrick Henry has been on administrative leave from the Diocese of Cleveland, Ohio, since June because of the allegation.

From 1980 to 1992, Henry served parishes in Norfolk, Papillion and South Sioux City.

The person who made the allegation in Ohio recently repeated it to Omaha Archdiocese officials, said the Rev. Joseph Taphorn, chancellor of the archdiocese. That triggered Friday's move to notify the public in Nebraska of the investigation and to invite anyone with concerns to contact the archdiocese.

"This is an effort to be forthcoming and transparent," Taphorn said.

The archdiocese is cooperating with the investigation led by the Cleveland Diocese, he said. Civil authorities also have been notified.

The archdiocese's prepared statement said: "The archdiocese has offered this individual counseling, support and pastoral outreach through its victim assistance coordinator, Mary Beth Hanus."

The statement said anyone with concerns is encouraged to contact Taphorn, 402-558-3100, or Hanus, 888-808-9055 or

The incident is alleged to have occurred outside the Cleveland Diocese in the mid-1970s when Henry was a seminarian and before he was ordained a priest. He is now in his mid-60s.

Taphorn declined to comment on details of the alleged incident.

Henry served as a seminarian intern at Sacred Heart Parish in Norfolk during fall semester 1980; associate pastor at St. Columbkille Parish in Papillion from spring 1981 to spring 1984; and associate pastor at St. Michael Parish, South Sioux City, from spring 1990 to spring 1992, the Omaha Archdiocese said.

In 1984, Henry took a five-year leave of absence to work in a Maryknoll mission in Bolivia.

Henry returned in 1994 to Cleveland, and most recently served as pastor of St. Christine parish in Euclid, Ohio.

A message left Friday for Henry at St. Christine was not immediately returned.

Henry was born and grew up in Cleveland, he told The World-Herald in a 1990 interview. He said he had studied to become a priest in the Cleveland Diocese, but left the seminary one year before ordination. Henry got a job at Boys Town as a house parent, according to the 1990 article, then became a social worker after earning a master's degree at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

He returned to the seminary in 1979 and was ordained two years later.


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