Suspended Priest Worked in County

Marin Independent Journal (Marin, CA)
August 22, 2002

Man was dean

at Marin Catholicl

A San Francisco police chaplain who was placed on administrative leave because of an investigation into allegations of sexual abuse once served as athletic director at Marin Catholic High School.

San Francisco Monsignor John Heaney, 74, has been a police chaplain for more than three decades, holding services at his South of Market chapel and meeting individually with officers undergoing personal or professional difficulties.

Heaney served as a teacher, dean of men, football coach and athletic director at Marin Catholic High School in the 1960s and '70s. In 1973, he was appointed administrator of St. Rita's Parish in Fairfax.

The San Francisco Archdiocese made little comment about this latest case of alleged abuse, except to say the city's Child Protective Services agency filed a report on Aug. 5 and the longtime priest would be placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.

Heaney's lawyer, Jim Collins, was not available to comment, but has said his client is innocent.

This spring, San Francisco District Attorney Terence Hallinan requested 75 years of records concerning reports of sexual abuse among clergy and lay employees within the archdiocese that also includes Marin and San Mateo counties. At that time, archdiocese spokesman Maurice Healy said he believed investigators might be fishing for additional victims to revive their case against Father Patrick O'Shea.

In March, a judge ruled that more than 200 counts should be dismissed against 69-year-old O'Shea, because of the statute of limitations. But since then, other cases of alleged abuse have come to light.

The Marin district attorney's office has acknowledged it is investigating fewer than 10 church-associated people, whose names were provided by church officials, to determine whether criminal charges were warranted.

None of the people being investigated have been charged with a crime, according to Assistant District Attorney Ed Berberian, who would not reveal whether Heaney was among those being investigated.

San Francisco Archdiocese spokesman Maurice Healy would not say whether Heaney's name was on the provided list. However, he said he was not aware of allegations against him previously.

Healy said the archdiocese has received calls from church members in Marin regarding Heaney, but that none of them involved any new allegations of impropriety.


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