Priest Returns to McQuaid

By Patrice Walsh
January 7, 2004 id=49627947-d996-419b-93a

Brighton, NY - A priest and teacher from McQuaid Jesuit High School returned to his post Wednesday, after a suspension that followed a claim he had abused a student 24 years ago at a New York City school.

A spokesperson for the Provincial of New York Jesuits told NewsSource 13 that the person who accused Father John Costello of sexual abuse has recanted his story, claiming the abuse came from another former priest at the Regis High School.

That claim is under investigation. The priest involved left the priesthood and is retired.
Students welcomed Father Costello back to McQuaid with a five-minute standing ovation during student assembly.

"It's the longest standing ovation I've ever seen," one student said. Those close to Costello never doubted his innocence.

McQuaid Principal, Father Phillip Judge said, "I've known Father Costello for over 20 years. I can't imagine it would have been true; I never entertained that as a possibility ... I think our church has had enough real scandals. To be able to put a false one behind us is a good thing."

There were never any charges, but the allegations hurt Costello deeply. While suspended, Costello was not allowed to teach at McQuaid or say mass at Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Brighton where he helps out.

"It was a living hell," McQuaid President, James Whelehan said. "He just wanted to get back to what his life is about as a priest and a teacher."


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