Second Seattle Priest Accused of Child Abuse Dies

By John Shuster
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests
August 31, 2011

A second Seattle area Catholic priest who was accused of molesting a child has passed away.

He is Father Patrick G. O'Neill, who worked at numerous parishes in the Seattle Archdiocese, died in his native Ireland. O'Neill was accused of child rape and molestation by a Tacoma woman in 2002.

Just days ago, the region's most prolific predator priest, Fr. James McGreal, also passed away. According to news accounts, McGreal once admitted to a counselor that he molested hundreds of kids. According to, a Boston-based research group, it was disclosed in 1988 that McGreal had a history of abuse (known to his archdiocesan supervisors) going back 40 years to his ordination.

A support group for clergy sex abuse victims is worried about the victims of both men.

"When a predator passes, some victims feel relief while others feel upset because justice rarely happens and the truth often remains hidden," said John Shuster of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. "We hope those who were hurt by these clerics or by any priest, nun, bishop, seminarian or minister finds the strength to speak up, get help, expose wrongdoing and start healing."

SNAP learned of O'Neill's passing through an obituary in the Kitsap Sun.

They heard about McGreal's passing through one of McGreal's former colleagues The Seattle Times also wrote about McGreal's passing on Monday.

"In both cases, Catholic officials should have been forthcoming and told parishioners, parents and the public," said Shuster, who lives in Port Orchard. "Bishops keep promising to be 'open' about predator priests and their crimes. But for the most part, they continue their reckless secrecy day in and day out, until someone or something forces them to disclose information."

For some victims, he notes, it's comforting when their predator passes on and can't hurt any more kids.

"By their silence, Catholic officials have again deprived deeply wounded victims of pedophile priests some comfort and healing," Shuster said.

O'Neill worked at parishes in Puyallup, Port Orchard, Aberdeen and Snohomish, retiring in 1999. McGreal was assigned to ten churches across Washington state.

SNAP is the world's oldest and largest self help group for victims of clergy sexual abuse with more than 10,000 members. It runs confidential, independent support groups in over 60 cities.

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