Former Las Vegas Priest Faces Abuse Allegation in Hawaii

By Brian Haynes
Las Vegas Review-Journal
June 20, 2012

A national victim's advocacy group called for local Catholic Church officials to reach out to potential victims of a former Las Vegas priest facing accusations of abuse in Hawaii.

Chicago-based Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, SNAP, wants the Catholic Diocese of Las Vegas to tell its parishioners about the allegation against the Rev. Maurice McNeely.

A 48-year-old Hawaii man sued McNeely and a North Dakota diocese in October, saying the priest sexually abused him when he was a boy in Hawaii.

SNAP's founder, Barbara Blaine, said McNeely preached at the Shrine of the Most Holy Redeemer sometime in the 2000s.

"We think it's the diocese's duty to reach out to anyone who might have been hurt," she said Wednesday outside the church at 55 E. Reno Ave., near the Tropicana.

Blaine said she knew of no criminal charges or other allegations against McNeely.

She also questioned why McNeely was among other Catholic priests with allegations against them who worked in Las Vegas.

Another former local priest who worked here in the 1980s, John Patrick Feeney, is serving a 15-year prison term after being convicted in 2004 of sexually assaulting two adolescent brothers in Wisconsin in 1978.

"Why is it that so many accused predators are coming through Las Vegas?" Blaine asked.

In a statement released Wednesday, the Diocese of Las Vegas said McNeely helped out as a fill-in priest for a "brief period of time" after retiring from the Diocese of Honolulu in good standing. He was never assigned to a parish in the Diocese of Las Vegas, the statement said.

The diocese said that it was not aware of the Hawaii allegation while he was in Las Vegas and that no allegations were made against him during his time here.

"The Diocese of Las Vegas takes any allegation of misconduct very seriously and encourages every member of our parishes to be vigilant in protecting God's children," said Father Bob Stoeckig, vicar general of the Diocese of Las Vegas. "We want our parishes and our churches to be safe environments where members of our church and students in our schools can build strong relationships with God and grow in their faith."



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