Priest Again Accused of Abuse

St. Petersburg Times
November 22, 2003

The Rev. Timothy Kelley, assistant pastor at St. Timothy Catholic Church in Hillsborough County, resigned from the active priesthood this month amid a new allegation that he sexually abused a minor.

Kelley was sued in September by a man who said Kelley had molested him in August 1983, when the man was 13 and Kelley lived in Buffalo. According to the suit, the priest befriended the boy and brought him on vacation to Florida, where the alleged abuse occurred.

Later in 1983, Kelley transferred from Buffalo and became an associate pastor at Sacred Heart Church in Pinellas Park, Diocese of St. Petersburg officials said. He resigned from that job in 1986.

In 2002, with allegations of priest abuse sweeping the country, Kelley passed a criminal background check and rejoined the Catholic ministry, said Joseph DiVito, attorney for the diocese. Kelley was assigned to St. Timothy's in Northdale.

When the lawsuit was filed in September, Kelley denied molesting anyone and took temporary leave while church officials investigated.

Recently, a second man contacted the Diocese of Buffalo and alleged that Kelley had molested him there before Kelley moved to Florida.

Kelley could not be reached for comment, but a church statement read to parishioners Nov. 8 said he denies the second allegation as well.

The statement urges anyone who feels they were molested by any church employee to contact law enforcement and the church's victim assistance minister, Marti Zeitz, at 1-866-407-4505.


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