Article brought to you by: Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Bronx priest working to clear his name

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
September 20th, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

A former Bronx priest is suing the Archdiocese of New York for libel. Charles Kavanaugh was accused of sexual abuse by a teenage boy who later admitted he made up the allegations. However, Kavanaugh says the archdiocese persisted in libeling him anyway.

NEW YORK, NY (Catholic Online) - Specifically, Kavanaugh was convicted in a secret court trial of the misconduct and stripped of his position, despite the recantation. Later, the Archdiocese repeated the allegations in a press release. 

The allegations against Kavanaugh were made in 2002 by Daniel Donohoe, who said the priest jumped into a bed with him and rubbed against him. He also claimed Kavanaugh held his hands during prayer in a manner that made him feel uncomfortable. 

However, the now-adult Donohoe has recanted his allegations saying, "The statement was not true and I apologize for it." The apology was submitted to a federal court in a sworn statement. 

Kavanaugh dropped his countersuit against Donohoe after the apology, but says the Archdiocese proceeded to convict him at a church trial. Last May, a church spokesman said in a press release that Kavanaugh deserved to be kicked out because of "multiple accounts" of sexual abuse. 

Kavanaugh has sued the Archdiocese in an effort to clear his name. He also says he wants his old job back, working as a priest. 

The lawsuit Kavanaugh has filed seeks damages from the Archdiocese as well as from the "Catholic New York" and its editor, which published the the press release. 

Kavanaugh says he lost more than his job, but also his pension and his home. He must now rely on the generosity of family and friends to survive. He says he thinks the Archdiocese treated him harshly because of former Cardinal Egan who was at the time facing scrutiny because of allegations that he failed to protect children by properly handling abuse charges in Connecticut. 

Church attorneys are now reviewing the lawsuit.

 

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