Pastor of St. Ann Church in Peoria removed from public ministry amid sex allegations
By Braley Dodson
August 26, 2015
PEORIA — A local Catholic priest is being forced to step down from public ministry following allegations of sexual misconduct with a minor.
Allegations against the Rev. Terry Cassidy, pastor of St. Ann Catholic Church in Peoria, date back nearly 30 years ago, according to a news release from the Catholic Diocese of Peoria on Wednesday. The release does not specify a number of victims, when the misconduct occurred or when the allegations were made.
The decision was made after Bishop Daniel Jenky received unanimous advice of the Diocesan Review Commission, according to the release.
Chancellor Patricia Gibson said the Diocese would have no further comment on the case. A call left on Cassidy’s office phone at St. Ann was not returned.
“At this time, out of respect for the privacy of the individuals involved in the case, the Catholic Diocese of Peoria will not be providing any further information,” the release said.
“Bishop Jenky continues to pray daily for all victims of sexual abuse and apologizes and prays that the Lord will heal the wounds resulting from this abuse.”
Cassidy, 63, cannot publicly function as a Catholic priest, including wearing clerical garb or the Roman collar, and cannot use the titles Reverend or Father.
His assignments in the area include serving at 16 churches from 1984 to 2001, with most assignments lasting about two years. From 2006 to 2013, Cassidy served as a spiritual adviser for Teens Encounter Christ, was a spiritual adviser for Cursillo from 2006 to the present and has worked with St. Ann since 1999.
A staff page for Cassidy on the Catholic Diocese of Peoria’s website states he was ordained in 1984 and took a leave of absence in 1989 while in residence at St. Mark Catholic Church in Peoria. He took another leave of absence for health reasons in 1992.
But the steps against Cassidy are not enough, according to the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.
In a statement by David Chohessy, director of SNAP, and Jeff Jones, Peoria SNAP leader, the organization calls on Jenky to hand over Cassidy’s records to law enforcement and calls on any witnesses of clergy sex crimes to call law enforcement.