Suspended Priest Dies

By Tom Beyerlein
Dayton Daily News
June 25, 2009

David Kelley, a Roman Catholic priest who was awaiting possible defrocking by the Vatican amid allegations that he sexually abused more than three dozen boys, died of lung cancer at 60 on June 6, the Archdiocese of Cincinnati confirmed Thursday, June 25.

Archdiocese spokesman Dan Andriacco said Kelley, who was on paid leave and wasn’t permitted to present himself as a priest, was living in Tennessee at the time of his death. He said Kelley’s family asked that his burial place not be disclosed. The family arranged a private funeral, Andriacco said.

Christy Miller, who heads the Cincinnati chapter of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, said Kelley “was one of the most notorious guys we had” because of the numbers of youth he allegedly abused.

Kelley was the most-accused of the 15 priests who had what the archdiocese considered credible allegations of child sexual abuse earlier this decade. Five of those priests remain on administrative, paid leave while their cases are considered by the Vatican; the rest have been permanently stripped of ministry or are dead.

Thirty-eight men sued Kelley and the archdiocese, claiming he abused them as children and the archdiocese failed to stop him. The lawsuit, along with similar cases against other priests, was dismissed from court because the statute of limitations had elapsed.

Among Kelley’s accusers were two local men who said archdiocese officials knowingly transferred Kelley in 1983 to St. Christopher Church in Vandalia, where he abused them when they were 14 years old, after he had abused children in the Cincinnati area.

Miller said any of Kelley’s victims who need help dealing with his death should contact SNAP at

“It’s going to bring back a lot of feelings,” she said. “It dredges things up and a lot of people have a hard time dealing with that.”

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