Local Priest Accused of Sexual Abuse Permanently Removed from Ministry
Fios 1 News
September 27, 2016
The alleged victims of a former Pearl River priest and Westchester Catholic school leader accused of sexual abuse are resting a little easier today, knowing he has been permanently removed from his ministry
The allegations against Monsignor John O’Keefe’s go back for more than 30 years ago. He was suspended last year for allegedly sexually abusing a student on class trips in Virginia and Ulster County.
Two other male victims have come forward since then and their allegations were found credible…
“…To the point where the review board of the Archdiocese of New York was unanimous in its recommendation to Cardinal Dolan that Monsignor O'Keefe be removed permanently,” said Dr. Robert Hoatson, President of Road to Recovery.
Others say O'keefe's alleged abuse started even earlier, when he was a guidance counselor at Cardinal Hayes High School in the Bronx.
After working at Cardinal Hayes, O'keefe was the leader of Catholic education at Archbishop Stepinac High School in White Plains. Most recently, he had been serving St. Margaret of Antioch Parish in Pearl River.
With O'keefe offically removed from practice, Hoatson and others are furious with Archbishop Timothy Cardinal Dolan wondering why they are the ones releasing this information to the public.
"...I believe cardinal Dolan wanted to keep a lid as much as he could on this information because its very embarrassing to him as the cardinal and its embarrassing to the Archdiocese of New York," Dr. Hoatson says.
Cardinal Dolan has not directly responded to the allegations. As for the anonymous victims, the statute of limitation has been reached. Attorney Mitchell Garabedian has reached out for a settlement with the Archdiocese. He also says O'keefe still needs supervision.
Going forward, O'keefe can be defrocked from the Vatican. That process can take three to six years.
Nonprofit Road to Recovery is also working to pass the Child Victims Act to remove the statute of limitations keeping victims from getting the closure they need.